A good word – Generous

Other Staff

I went to a football game up in Orland, California, recently with my new son-in-law, Luke. He introduced me to a friend of his who paid my admission to the game and bought me a burger and a Pepsi.

I was surprised – and pleased – of course. And I didn’t even ask! He just offered and did it; I smiled and said “thanks.” Luke’s friend, and now mine, is a generous man.

I’ve been thinking about generosity a lot lately. I’ve been hunting for a word to describe what I believe is at the center of how God relates to us.

For years I have loved the word “grace”. It is the perfect Bible word for the way our Lord gives to us so freely. The word “gift” has done the job for me too. It also gets across the idea that we don’t earn what we get from God. His goodness comes to us freely.

Just a few weeks ago I came across this common word, generous. It gets at this goodness-of-God idea in just the way I have been seeing it. It’s a good word because it gives the sense of an act that is not only free, but also abundant. You don’t have to pay for it.

A generous gift is more than you expected – like what happened to me at the football game.

Eugene Peterson’s marvelous translation of the Bible picks this up in his rendering of the first chapter of John. Jesus, God come in flesh and blood, is “generous inside and out.”

We see God at His best in the generosity that He shows us in Jesus. All the stories of the gospels reveal this side of God: Jesus giving and serving and healing and teaching and loving freely and generously.

Again Peterson says in The Message, “We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift.”

So I have a fresh word for my life this year. As I read and think and teach and pray this year I want to be alert for expressions of God’s generous way towards us. And I’m hoping to live generously in return. I hope that for you too.