Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
–1 Timothy 6:18

Generosity never stands alone. It is always associated with other traits. It is a symptom, not an independent entity. Find a generous person and you will find contentment, gratitude, humility, love and compassion. The person cannot help but be generous because everything he is and has is tied up in relation to God. The generous person, for example, might be so thankful for the family van that a natural expression of their stewardship would be loaning it to the youth group for a weekend outing.

Contentment is a key factor to generosity. It walks hand-in-hand with gratitude because only when a person no longer desires for self is generosity perfected. Maybe that’s why Paul is speaking to the rich in this passage. In the preceding verse, Paul instructs Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” The product of arrogance and trusting in riches is to hoard wealth and continue to be greedy. It’s so easy to want more and more, isn’t it? That’s why Paul commands the rich to adjust their behavior and elevate their motives because greed, to any degree, closes the door to generosity.

Many years ago, I wrote “A Page of Priorities” at the top of the page in my Bible where 1 Timothy 6 appears. I encourage all of us to be content and grateful. May generosity overflow from our cup of humility, gratitude, contentment and love. Let’s take hold of life that is truly life!

Used with permission from Sunshine Community Church, Grand Rapids, MI and The Barnabas Foundation.