Welcome to our final episode discussing generosity in the Bible!
In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the story of Jesus and how it relates to the theme of generosity.
In part 1 (0-16:40), Tim notes that God’s gifts to humans, and specifically his gift of the Promised Land to Israel, are unconditioned, but not unconditional. The gift of the land places an obligation upon Israel: the gift is unconditioned (unmerited), but not unconditional (non-reciprocal). It is not given to Israel based on an evaluation of their worthiness, but it is given with a clear expectation of obligated response.
Then Tim dives into Matthew 5:43-48 to make the point that the fundamental depiction of God in the New Testament is that of a generous gift giver whose generosity should effect a transformation of our lives.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be complete, as your heavenly Father is complete.”
In part 2 (16:40-33:40), Tim dives into more passages in the New Testament that build on this theme.
God so love the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has given on us, that we would be called children of God; and that is what we are.
1 John 5:11
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely gift us all things?
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
Tim says that the generosity Jesus dispenses exposes the heart of humanity, which is bent toward selfishness. Being generous in the way that Jesus is generous creates a different kind of security than economic security. It’s a security based on a community that truly loves each other, sharing freely with each other.
In part 3 (33:40-45:15), Tim dives into 2 Corinthians 8.
2 Corinthians 8:1-11
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the grace of participation (Greek: koinonia) in the service of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this grace as well. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this grace also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.
Tim notes that the word for grace is the same word for gift in Greek (charis, noun: “grace, gift” and charizomai, verb: “to give a gift, forgive”).
In part 4 (45:15-end), the guys wrap up their conversation. Tim notes that the themes of scarcity and abundance or selfishness and generosity are woven from start to finish in the Bible. Why? Because it’s a fundamental part of our human existence.
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