As church leaders, we desire to see our church filled with people who hold loosely to the things of the world. People who desire to advance God’s Kingdom through their generosity.
But how do we know who is truly living that way?
You could certainly look at giving records. Giving records tell you, at least, who is financially participating. And that would be a start. However, a person can be financially participating and still not truly be a generous disciple. Biblical generosity extends beyond giving to a local church.
So how do you spot the generous disciples in your church? Well, look around your church and see if any of your people exhibit the four characteristics below. If so, you may have identified a generous disciple. Here are characteristics for which to look:
1. Generous disciples are characterized by cheerfulness.
I have met a ton of grumpy, tight-fisted people, but I am still looking for the cheerful, open-handed person. Cheerfulness and generosity are like peanut butter and jelly—one just goes with the other. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), and generous people are certainly cheerful. So, look for the cheer.
Cheerfulness and generosity are like peanut butter and jelly—one just goes with the other.
2. Generous disciples are characterized by purposefulness.
Generous disciples are on mission. Like the Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8), their generosity is a natural outflow of a heart that is captured by God’s charge to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20). They’re in awe that they get to be used by God for His Kingdom. Generous disciples’ lives and resources are consumed with purpose. So, look for the purposefulness.
Generous disciples are on mission.
3. Generous disciples are characterized by contentment.
These men and women in your church are less concerned about what to buy next and more concerned with how to leverage what they already have for Kingdom advancement. The paradox of generosity is that letting go allows one to feel like they have taken hold of something significant. While a tight hold only furthers the feeling that they are missing out on something significant. Generous disciples have something meaningful—contentment. So, look for the contentment.
Generous disciples are concerned with how to leverage what they already have for Kingdom advancement.
4. Generous disciples are characterized by steadfastness.
The markets rise and markets tumble. Jobs are created and jobs are cut. Taxes are added and taxes are reduced. For those who have placed their hope in wealth, they find themselves tossed about like a ship at sea. Generous disciples are not like this. Their hope is not in wealth, but in Christ. Therefore, they remain steadfast during the highs and lows. So, look for steadfastness.
Generous disciples’ hope is not in wealth, but in Christ.
Do you want to find the generous disciples in your church? Look for those who are characterized by cheerfulness, purposefulness, contentment, and steadfastness. They’re likely the ones for which you are looking.