1 Corinthians 1:4-5: “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—.”

A rich young man had a question weighing on his mind. He asked Jesus what needed to be done to secure his place in the kingdom of heaven. The Lord kept it general in His initial answer. He said we receive eternal life by keeping God’s commands. Interestingly, the rich young man was dissatisfied with His response and kept prodding. “What else must I do?” he asked. Unfortunately the Lord’s reply to his follow-up question quickly ended the conversation (Matthew 19:21):

“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”

Matthew’s gospel describes how the young man went away sad – knowing he would not want to part from his many possessions. Probably unbeknownst to him His possessions possessed him.

We don’t need to be rich to share in a rich man’s worldview. The Messiah once said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. That’s a strong statement! Does this mean that God is partial to the poor and less accepting of rich people? I don’t think so. I believe the point is that self-sufficiency creates a lonely society. Our desire to be independent and run a one-man-show gets all of us into trouble and a rich person may have a harder time recognizing that. A rich man’s world is a cold and desperate place. God’s kingdom on the other hand is the place to be.

Christ preached the kingdom of God while He walked this earth. Jesus enriches us in every way so that we enrich others, similar to a river that originates in heaven and feeds the world. The trick is not to stop that river and thereby hijack the Lord’s flow of generosity. Don’t build a dam and try to keep everything to yourself. Let the river flow and pass on what God has given you.

We have received Christ and have given ourselves away. In the kingdom of heaven receiving and giving is a cycle that goes on in perpetuity. Everybody is rich in God’s world because we are all sold out. This is the spirit of generosity Jesus tried to impress on the rich young man – and it’s the same generous spirit that creates community and unity. We come together and praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow.

The River of God sets my feet a-dancing
The river of God fills our hearts with cheer
The river of God fills our mouths with laughter
And we rejoice for the river is here
Songwriter: Andy Park

1 Chronicles 29:9: “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.”

Depicted in the first book of Chronicles, King David had inspired his people as he went ahead and donated all of his resources, even dedicating his personal treasures to the building of the temple. This was a happy day for King David. An outpouring of generosity marked this very special occasion. Everybody chipped in with gifts. Generosity can stir up even more generosity. King David devoted all he had to the One he loved with all of his heart – and the crowd followed in his footsteps.

God’s generosity prominently shows up in nature. We have three fruit trees in our backyard. Last season our trees produced so much fruit, we could have fed our entire neighborhood – certainly, we could not eat it all. So we called over our neighbors and friends asking them to take as much as they liked.

God is generous and so is His love. I am sure the word “stingy” is not even included in heaven’s vocabulary. Common pitfall for humans is to hold back. I guess, we are rather safe than sorry; even though holding back and closing up like an oyster leads to isolation and we are never “safe” in isolation.

The more love we share, the more love we have. God knows this secret. He has lavished His love upon His creation since the beginning of time, and He is famous for His unfailing love. God’s love bucket is always full to overflowing, and He does not hold back. Under His wings life flourishes.

May the Lord of Life and Love stir us up and move us to respond generously when we see a need.  Just a moment ago my husband and I were watching our cat showing his belly to a neighbor, offering her to pet him. Our cat Buddy is very generously spreading his love. We all have something to contribute. Needs are diverse and so are we. Let loose of your talents, gifts and expertise. If nothing else, give of your time. Time is a precious commodity.

Heart to heart – that’s how we are connected to the Lord and this is how we are all interconnected. The blood flow of interconnection is generosity.