True generosity is an overflow of gratitude, not excess. Excess may give an abundance of resources for generosity, but throughout the Bible the most common examples we see of generosity are of people who gave sacrificially.
These aren’t people who were generous because they had so much, these were people who were generous because they were grateful for what little they did have. And this gratitude produces an aptitude for sacrifice that is difficult (although not impossible) for those who enjoy a surplus to experience.
In Luke 21:1-4 Jesus is watching people give their offerings at the temple. This is something most people frown on saying, “What I give is my business!” But trust me, God knew what they were giving, so Jesus had access to the info whether he was watching or not.
But Jesus takes note of and comments on one woman’s offering in particular. You see the rich people came by and dropped in large sums, and she only a couple of pennies.
What impressed Jesus was not the size of her offering, but the degree of her sacrifice.
The rich people gave a portion of their surplus. While she gave everything she had. Both gave large gifts. The rich brought offerings large in size. This poor widow woman brought an offering large on sacrifice.
To whom much is given, much is expected. If we are blessed with abundance or surplus, I believe we must work that much harder to give sacrificially and generously. But we will not do so if we do not have genuine gratitude in our hearts to the God who entrusted us with so much. We will depend on our excess and not the God who gave it to us.
The same is true for those who are blessed with little. And yes, I said blessed with little. Without heartfelt gratitude, we will cling to our two cents, feeling it is not our job to be generous since God didn’t give us very much to start with.
In either scenario, understand it the way Pastor Mike explained it at Verge Church this past Sunday… It truly is gratitude that unlocks a generous life!