A few days after I wrote that the phrase “stingy Christian” should be an oxymoron, retired pastor and daily devotional writer Dale Vander Veen wrote about generosity. He describes in more detail God’s generosity that we have the privilege to imitate. Dale kindly (and generously!) gave me permission to post his devotional here…
The traditional translation of Psalm 23:6 is: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Eugene Peterson in The Message opts for: “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” Wondering where he came up with “beauty” in place of “goodness,” I checked other Old Testament uses of tob, the Hebrew word David chose. I found quite a list of translations. Beauty, prosperity, happiness, gladness, satisfaction, celebration, joy, well-being, generosity.
Goodness could be translated “righteousness.” But generosity, like beauty, is also a part of goodness, and it goes beyond righteousness.
— Righteousness asks, “What must I do?”
— — Generosity asks, “What can I do?”
— Righteousness says, “I have done enough.”
— — Generosity says, “I want to do more.”
I am stunned. Every day of my life God is following me, asking himself, “What more can I do for Dale?”
God was generous in creation.
“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good (tob – generous) for food” (Genesis 2:9). “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good (tob – generous) for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
God was generous to his Old Testament people.
“They took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things (tob – generous things)… They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness (tob – generosity)” (Nehemiah 9:25).
God was generous in his Son.
Lest I think that God’s generosity is limited to the physical realm, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). And Paul writes, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
God is generous in my salvation.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins … that he lavished on us… Because of his great love for us, God … is rich in mercy” (Ephesians 1:7, 8; 2:4, 5).
God is generous in my growth.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (generosity)” (2 Peter 1:3).
Before Jesus’ death, a woman in an uncontrolled burst of generosity anointed Jesus, breaking an expensive alabaster jar and pouring a very expensive perfume on his head. When criticized by her observers, Jesus defended her generosity, saying, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:3-9).
Goodness, generosity, beauty – all three describe the heartbeat of the God who chases after me every day of my life. Amazing!
Verse for the day:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2)
Phrase for the day:
God has done many beautiful things for me.
Quote for the day:
Beautiful (generous) Savior! King of Creation!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love thee, truly I’d serve thee,
Light of my soul, my joy, my crown.
— – from “Beautiful Savior” (Gesangbuch, Münster, 1677)
…With the prayer that today you will hear your Shepherd walking behind you, asking himself, “What more can I do for _____ [insert your name]?”