Focus.

“Things like radical generosity and audacious faith are not produced when we focus on them, but when we focus on the gospel. Focusing on what we ought to do for God creates only frustration and exhaustion; focusing on what Jesus has done for us produces abundant fruit. Resting in what Jesus has done for us releases the revolutionary power of the gospel.”

—J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary

Relationally generous.

Ever felt too empty to give more to those who ask or need, or forgive one more time that person who doesn’t really deserve it?

Consider the limitations of your own soul, and then move from that tiresome place to consider the infinite grace of God found in Jesus — the One who gave far more than He received, and continues to give to us who don’t deserve one ounce of His compassion.

“Generosity is not contingent on what you receive, but on what you are willing to give… If we only give what we have received, we are nothing more than relational and emotional barterers.”

—Erwin Raphael McManus, Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul, 136.

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

——Paul speaking to the Ephesian Elders, applying the words of Jesus, Acts 20:35

In a world stocked full of self-style self-help gurus and manuals, the whole “God helps those who help themselves” mottoes fall far short. God helps those who plead on His Mercy. And He gives them more grace than they can manage to give away.

It’s hard to count on one hand how many times I hear as a pastor each week, “I just need to learn how to love and forgive myself more.” That’s an incomplete load of nonsense. (It’s partly true, as are all lies.) Find your dignity and worth in Christ, who has become your identity in all the ways He impressed the Father for you, and quit focusing all your energies on loving yourself — that’s code here in the West for normalizing our innate self-centeredness.

Why is it more blessed to give than to receive? Because that’s what God is like. He’s a Giver, not a Taker. Be like Him and quite taking so much and start giving yourself away. I’ll be seeking the same.