Radical Hospitality. Passionate Worship. Intentional Faith Development. Risk Taking Mission and Service. The past four weeks we have looked at these provocative and challenging words that should be present in our lives if we choose to live as a Jesus follower. This week, we look at the fifth and final word; it has to do with generosity, which is a politically correct way to say “giving.” But more than just giving or generosity, we are called to live lives of Extravagant Generosity.
Living a life practicing Extravagant Generosity means for people to give freely; they make giving a first priority, and they plan their giving with great energy and passion. They go the second mile. They do not give from a “what remains” mentality, but from a “what comes first” priority. Extravagant Generosity is giving to God as God has given to us.
John Wesley had an experience that changed his understanding regarding the use of money. He had just finished paying for some pictures for his room when one of the chambermaids came to his door. It was a cold winter day, and he noticed that she had nothing to protect her except a thin linen gown. He reached into his pocket to give her some money to buy a coat but found he had too little left. Immediately, the thought struck him that God must not be pleased with the way he had spent his money.
Because of this experience, Wesley began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. One year, his income was 30 pounds and his living expenses 28 pounds, so he had 2 pounds to give away. The next year his income doubled, but he still managed to live on 28 pounds; he gave 32 pounds away. In the third year, his income jumped to 90 pounds. Instead of letting his expenses rise with his income, he kept them to 28 pounds and gave away 62 pounds. In the fourth year, he received 120 pounds. As before, his expenses were 28 pounds, so his giving rose to 92 pounds. By the end of his life, Wesley was making over 1400 pounds a year but still living on 28 pounds, giving the rest away. Wesley believed if he died with more than 10 pounds to his name, then he wasn’t being a true follower of Jesus. It is estimated that by the end of his life, Wesley had given away 98% of what he earned. Extravagant Generosity…