The life-giving power of generosity

This article is from Paul David (PD) Kurts, regional pastor of GCI’s Mid-Atlantic Region. PD also serves in the North Carolina Air National Guard.

Emma Lee and PD Kurts
Emma Lee and PD Kurts

Some years ago I was watching a television program on the National Geographic channel, which depicted a pygmy tribesman trying to catch a monkey (you know, the other white meat) to feed his family. I sat in amazement watching the simple trap he set. He dug a hole in the ground about a foot deep but only a few inches wide. Then he dropped a bunch of peanuts into the hole and walked away.

Sure enough, an hour or so later, a monkey came out of nowhere and inquisitively approached the hole. What happened next astounded me. The monkey reached into the hole, which his hand would barely fit into, grabbed a handful of peanuts and tried to pull his hand out. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get his hand out because he refused to unlock his fist and let go of the peanuts.

The poor little monkey went into a frenzy, jumping around, screaming and hoping he would somehow get his hand out of the hole without losing his prize. This pitiful scene played out for about 20 minutes until the pygmy returned, only to casually stroll over to the monkey and bonk him on the head with a wooden club. Bon Appetit!

The lesson was clear—greed kills. Jesus said this: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25 ESV). In our attempts at being non-human, we tend to hold tightly to money, time, possessions, you name it. I say non-human because to be truly human is to be generous with all that we are and all that we have. The Father, Son and Spirit, who embody generosity and whose image we bear, created us with that same generosity. It is there in us, it is who we are, but the problem is we don’t always know it, don’t always believe it, and so we don’t always practice it.

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Used with permission

One of the greatest lessons I’m still learning in life is that I can’t out-give God. I’ve tried proving him wrong on this, believe me, only to be proven wrong over and over and over! Not only is the Father continually generous toward the Son and the Son toward the Spirit and the Spirit toward the Father (you get the point), but our Triune God is always generous toward us with all that he is and all that he has. Paul said it this way, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3 ESV).

So the question is this: who needs to experience your generosity today in a deeper way, or even for the first time? Perhaps a child? A mate? An estranged friend? I believe the saying of our Lord is true: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We can’t help but experience blessing when we exercise generosity.

Holy Spirit awaken our souls to the life-giving power of generosity, and while you’re at it, please remind us to let go of the peanuts! Amen.

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