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A friend buys you a meal. Your parents surprise you with a gift you have been wanting for. A pleased customer offers you a little extra for a tip. These are all the things we would recognize as generous. They’re also all things which require money.
But after the expensive Christmas season and spring semester tuition payments, most college students feel they do not have extra cash that they can use to bless others with.
Regardless of the numbers of our bank accounts, as Christians we are called to live generously. One example from Scripture is when Jesus noticed the widow giving two coins into the offering box. Luke 21 says “and [Jesus] said, ‘truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Jesus recognized the immense sacrifice in this action of generosity. Jesus doesn’t give her the money back, but rather praises her in front of others.
Most people—especially college students—do not realize that you can be generous without spending a dime. When we do that, we share the true love of Jesus with those around us.
4 EXAMPLES OF GENEROSITY
1. Be generous with your time.
Being generous with your time takes sacrifice, good time management skills and a big heart. Instead of spending your free time watching Netflix in your dorm room, spend time with a friend. Talk with them. Listen to them. Pray with them.
If you think you don’t have time to be generous, then carve some out. You may have to make sacrifices but it will be worth it to share your time with others.
Be generous with your time in service as well. Volunteer on your day off. Mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn. Cook a meal for someone sick. Spend time with someone younger than you and mentor them. Christ’s time here was spent with the sick and the poor. How much of our time should be as well?
2. Be generous with your forgiveness.
This one doesn’t come easy to me. However, when I am generous in my forgiveness with those who have wronged me, we both experience freedom. When someone hurts us, it is vital to forgive because Christ has forgiven all. While that doesn’t mean we have to necessarily reconcile with them, we are commanded to forgive “seventy times seven.” This isn’t meant to be an exact number because Jesus is stressing the importance of consistent and faithful forgiveness—generous forgiveness.
3. Be generous with what you already have, even if it’s not much.
The Gospel Coalition writes that this means “sharing your possessions, which glorifies God and his gospel.” God has abundantly blessed all of us. We can share with others what we have been given. We can be hospitable to others, opening up our homes to them. We can share our meals with others, especially those who are hungry. Share your car with your roommate who doesn’t have one, aiding them in their errands to Trader Joe’s or Target.
When we are generous with what we have, we will be blessed as well. Having an attitude of service can put us in the right mindset for this. Generosity is part of our service to God, who has blessed us abundantly. He will grant us wisdom and discernment to figure out how and when to share them in an appropriate manner.
4. Be generous with your talents.
I am often overwhelmed with the amount of talent on this campus. We have athletes, musicians, writers, scientists and more—Biola students have so much to offer the world. If each person spends time cultivating relationships with others, sharing their natural talents with them while sharing the gospel, lives can be changed and people won for Jesus.