Learn to Love by Being Generous
By Rick Warren
“I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me . . . They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.” Philippians 4:18 (NLT)
Life is not about things. It’s about learning how to love.
One of the best ways to learn to love is through generosity—giving your time, money, effort, and energy. When you’re generous, you’re affirming that God and people matter most to you. In other words, what matters most is love.
Every time you give—whether that’s giving your time, your money, your effort, or your energy—you reveal what matters to you. Tell me how you spend your money and your time, and I’ll tell you what matters most to you.
Does your schedule reveal that your career matters most to you? Does your bank statement show that your hobby is most important? Or does how you spend your money and time show that loving God and people matters most to you?
If at the end of your life you’ve acquired a giant pile of things but you’re estranged from your family and friends, you’ve missed the point! You’ve missed the opportunity to love through your generosity.
But when you spend your life building generously into people and relationships, you’re living in the light of heaven. You’re living in love.
Think about the people you’re most grateful for from your own life. Most of those are probably people who have invested time, money, effort, or energy in you.
Paul gives an example of this: “You have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News . . . No other church did this . . . At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me . . . They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:14-15, 18 NLT).
The people Paul was writing to had learned this truth: You earn a living by what you make, but you earn the respect and gratitude of others by what you give out of a loving heart.
Take some time today to reflect on the people who’ve been generous to you. Then use them as a model for how you can be generous to others.
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