Week 8 // What Expands You?
The life of a tree emulates the Biblical pattern of expansion. A tree receives energy from the sun, grows from the nutrients it receives, and then serves the ecosystem around it. Similarly, we are meant to receive from the Son, grow in His Word and by His Spirit, and serve those around us. The University of Notre Dame defined Generosity as “the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly”. It is a character trait involving both an attitude and an action. In Matthew 13, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven as a mustard seed. It is small but it grows to become a tree whose purpose is to offer shelter, comfort, and rest to the birds around it. The tree does not grow only to bear fruit and keep the fruit to itself, no, the tree grows so it can serve others!
Through the life of Jesus and all of his followers, we see that serving is a natural consequence of living a healthy private life. With time, God teaches us to be selfless with our time, affection, and resources. The Bible challenges us to expand our generosity by first reminding us that we love because God loved us first (1 John 4:19). This means we are able to give love and affection to others because we believe that God has, first, loved us. The Word also reminds us to share with the needy, clothe the poor, give food to the hungry, and take care of the sick; by doing these things for our brothers and sisters we are also doing them unto the Lord (Matthew 25).
When we serve in any capacity, God says that we are actually the ones who are refreshed! Isn’t that a beautiful thing? God expands our hearts to give and serve others and He says that we too will be blessed as a result. What a loving God we serve! God created us so that we would serve not only God, but serve each other. Service looks different for all people, no two were created the same. Be encouraged to allow the spirit of generosity pour out through you today!
Questions for Meditation
- In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. What is the significance of the mustard seed in this passage?
- What are some of the ways God is calling you to serve in this season of your life?
- What are some obstacles that get in the way of you being generous?
- Read James 2:14-17; what are some practical ways you can begin to practice generosity today?
- Think of a time someone extended generosity to you. Can you remember how it made you feel? What eternal impact can a seemingly simple act of generosity have on someone else?