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Becoming a Generous Giver

When we listen to Jesus' teaching on generosity, we should respond by giving everything to him and others.

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It is ironic that this book entitled Generosity has my name at the bottom of the cover. That God would link me with generosity makes me want to laugh out loud, because some people out there didn't know me as a young person. I grew up in a home in which there was little teaching about money, except that we didn't have much of it. Over those early years, my view of money was pretty negative. I didn't appreciate it. I didn't know how to manage it. I'm not sure I do now, but I have other people in my life. I didn't understand what you were supposed to do with money. I was anything but a generous person. I was far more on the take than on the give. If you're going to be a follower of Christ and you have those attributes, something has to change. It is an anomaly to say, "I am a follower of Christ," and not know what you're supposed to do with your money.

A friend of mine, Philip Yancey, who's one of the foremost Christian writers of our time, wrote about his own attitude toward money, which is similar to mine. He said this:

Many Christians have one issue that haunts them and never falls silent. For some it involves sexual identity. For others it's a permanent battle against doubt. The issue that haunts me is money. It hangs over me. It keeps me off balance, restless, uncomfortable, nervous. I feel pulled in opposite directions over the money issue. Sometimes I want to sell all that I own and join a Christian commune and live out my days in intentional poverty. At other times I want to rid myself of guilt and enjoy the fruit of our nation's prosperity.

I gave you this quote because I want you to see this next sentence or two. Yancey writes: "Mostly I wish that I did not have to think about money at all. But I must somehow ...

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