(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
March 11, 2018
It seems to be in the end zone of every football game. A big poster board with the scripture reference to John 3:16? Long-time sports fans see this all the time. But long-time church-fans may have heard the verse so often that it has ceased to have any meaning.
Let’s look at it again, this time with an eye for one word in particular.
“For God so loved the world that God GAVE his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
The word “gave” past tense for the word ‘give’ tells us something about the character of God. This verse is a reminder that we worship a generous God whose love is unbounding, grace overflowing.
When it comes to God, the key biblical word for “love” is closely related to the key biblical word for “give.” The Hebrew word is built on the reciprocal nature of human relationships, which makes God’s extravagance all the more remarkable.
The constant, reliable, and permanent nature of God’s steadfast love for us doesn’t depend on us returning the favor. God is extravagant beyond our understanding. It is when we become extravagant in our desire to share God’s gift with others that we truly discover what it means to have an abundant life. This verse is as close to the center of our shared faith as it gets.
Time, Talent, and Treasure, are the three “T”s of stewardship.
Statistics Canada reports (2012) that givings to religious organizations make up 40% of charitable giving. This is a reduction from 80% fifty years ago. The good news is that Canadians continue to be generous.
The report also shows that people who give generously with their time, are the most likely to give generously of their treasure. (Even Stats-Can is not able to find a statistic to measure how “talented” the average Canadian is!)
The study shows that Canadians become more generous with charitable giving as they age. This is a trend that is true for all demographics. It is found in each generation. Millennials are as generous as their parents were at their age, but give in different ways. This makes sense. As we age, hopefully, we can pay down debt. We leave the high cost of child care behind and enter the realm of assisting the growth of educational savings plans.
There are also regional differences. The people of Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, are the most generous in the country, while we in Ontario are in the middle zone of generosity for Canadians.
84% of Canadians made donations to assist others. We are a generous people. Yet many of the gifts were small and made at the grocery store by donating to the food bank, or making a donation on the way in.
Returning to John 3:16…we are reminded that God first loved and then God GAVE. One we know that we are loved unconditionally, it makes generosity more an act of love than an obligation. We like to give. So, we do.