Fruit of the Spirit: Generosity

Agathosune

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (agathosune), which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

The Greek word agathosune (ag-ath-o-soó-nay) means an active goodness, the virtue of “doing good, beneficence, generosity. It is the word most Bible versions use. It is sometimes, however, confused with chrestotes (khray-tot’-ace), which means having excellent and good moral character. The NRSV listed this seed, instead of goodness, as generosity, as I’ve done here.

Just as we know how to love because God first loved us, we know how to be generous because of God’s generosity toward us. This generosity is called grace. It is undeserved. It is a gift. It is bestowed upon us by a Giver who loves us for who we are, not for what we do. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more; there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. His great love and grace are so generous it is, to quote the song*, like trying to swallow the ocean.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

It is this grace that makes most of us desire to be generous. It is this salvation that transforms our hearts, leads us to understand that without God everything else is worthless. It is this seed of grace planted in our hearts that opens us to goodness and generosity.

Seeds.B

~~~

The Goodness Seed

by Heidi Viars

I felt the Father sow one day
A seed into my heart.
His seed of goodness, there it lay-
Waiting to break apart.

God poured His love from His deep well,
Abundantly to me.
God’s Spirit worked, and moved, and dwelt  –
Broke open heart and seed.

He then asked me to mind the seed,
To till the soil inside,
Surrender all – and His will seek –
In Christ’s Words to abide.

Now fruit of goodness grows quite fast
In tenderhearted soil.
This generous fruit is meant to last,
For goodness doesn’t spoil.

~~~

Christ gave each one of us the special gift of grace, showing how generous he is. (Ephesians 4:7) The Lord generously poured out the Spirit into us through Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:6) The Spirit then gave each one a manifestation of Himself for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)

In other words, we have been generously given unmerited grace and the Holy Spirit. In turn, the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon us certain gifts – talents, if you will – to use generously and compassionately for the good of others.

Think of this gift as a pay-it-forward offering. The apostle Paul explains it this way:

So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to him. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1

Rather than using your unique gift for self-indulgence, use it to generously enrich the lives of others. If you’re not certain how to do this, ask God.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

The Goodness Seed copyright 2014 Heidi Viars

Heidi’s blog, Wings of the Dawn http://heidiviars.com/ contains beautifully organic photography and poetry that speak to the beauty and majesty of God. Heidi, like many of us, was rescued from darkness by the incredible light and love of Jesus. Through her art, she hopes her readers “sense His hand leading you, even if you are “taking the wings of the dawn or dwell in the remotest part of the sea. (Psalm 139)”

This post can also be seen on Mind’s Seat, www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

*©2013 Swallow the Ocean, NewSong, HHM Records/ NewSong Ministries

27 comments

  1. Thanks visit my blog. Many people of faith follow. Easter blessings to you and yours.

    Like

  2. Tis better to give than receive. We simply can’t out give God!!!

    Like

    1. So true, Erin. All we can give is the overflow He gives us.

      Like

  3. Love this Susan – particularly : ‘Rather than using your unique gift for self-indulgence, use it to generously enrich the lives of others. If you’re not certain how to do this, ask God.’

    and – I agree with Jenni – you radiate calmness and light 😉 Lovely lady ~

    Like

    1. Thank you. This was not always me. I still have my moments, but I’m so thankful for this transformation of my heart and mind.

      Like

      1. I get that – I promise – it is not really YOUR light right 😉
        I like to show how MY light looks (blag!) and then — the proper thang!!

        Like

      2. I knew that. 😉

        Just thinking about how scattered and crazed and ANXIOUS I used to be about everything. Much different now. And when I do get worried, I let go of it a whole lot faster.

        Like

      3. I know the place well dear 😉

        It gets betterer and bettererer until it is bestest. BUT than don’t let the guard down – cos it can sneak back rather sneakily!
        I am convinced the only cure for anxiety is – AGAPE!

        Like

      4. Absolutely agree, my friend.

        Like

  4. Yes. Light and peace her, Susan. each week growing and flowing out from you.x

    Like

  5. Awesome, Susan. I really like how you highlighted generosity in grace. Like when you said, “It is this grace that makes most of us desire to be generous.” Amen! So many relegate grace to unmerited favor to save us, which is true, but it’s more the power and even desire to love like God. Great insights here. Blessings.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Mel. Grace has so much power beyond saving. Yes, being saved is important, (SO important), yet it’s the power to lift us and move us forward, to transform our hearts and minds that is the amazing thing about it. So many are fearful of that change, of surrendering to it and don’t realize the freedom and perfect peace that comes with that surrender. It’s the loveliest relationship and extremely difficult to explain.

      Like

  6. I love your frank, honest interaction with Scripture. It speaks so powerfully when we don’t try to force onto it our own pre-determined message!

    And I love your call to bear the fruit of God’s generosity in our lives. I remember being confronted several years ago with the truth that God was lavish, but that I too often saw Him as stingy. I didn’t intend to, but that was my presupposition about Him. Seeing Him for who He really is has led me into a new conviction/freedom to be equally lavish with others!

    Like

    1. That is so wonderful to hear, Tiffany. It’s such a blessing when we can freely and generously give His light and love. Bless you, my sister.

      Like

  7. thank you, Susan, for your very thoughtful and insightful posts. Thank you, too, for sharing your deep love for God with the rest of us. -ruth =)

    Like

    1. Hey, Rudy! Great to hear from you. May His generous blessings be yours today. 😀

      Like

  8. I was raised to be generous to all and in everything. It is not for me to question who would take unfair advantage of this generosity and therefore prompt me to withhold it, as our example in Jesus, he bestowed grace on everyone. I believe in giving, help, care, comfort, material goods, time. We only live for 85 years – it speeds by. What is the point of our lives if we are miserly and die having held back goodness from anyone? Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Susan. I am so glad you are on board with generosity. True Christians practice this as much as possible.

    Like

    1. I agree, Beth. I fear there are too many in the name of Christianity who do not. Generosity in spirit is included in this. I pray, particularly today, that we can offer such grace.

      Like

  9. Great exposition my friend! Loved this post! Thanks for sharing ! Blessings!

    Like

    1. Oh, thank you so much for reading.

      Like

  10. My faith has a basic three fold premise, what you would wish, what you would do and what you think is sent out into the universe and returned three fold. We learn that intent to harm rather than heal, intent to judge rather than understand and intent to impose your will on all those you, those things return to you so that you may learn the lessons of kindness and compassion.

    To understand it it better to give than to take and it is better to offer blessings rather than curse. There is a price to pay in life for these lessons as there is for all things of worth and the road is hard at times and you wish to be selfish but the lady does not judge with a human eye or heart and that is something to carry always in your heart. We mortals walk this world by divine gift and intent and all must eventually seek the path back to the divine.

    Like

    1. Love, kindness and compassion are definitely the seeds we need to sow in thought, word and deed, yet we are taught that harvest can return 30, 60 and a hundred fold – not to us but to the world as a whole.

      We agree that we are here by Divine gift and intent – for me, that is defined as unending love, grace and mercy – so much that we can offer generosity to our neighbors.

      Thank you, Jenni, for your kind, compassionate and thoughtful comment.

      Like

      1. I’m not sure why but I find in your words about your faith a great deal of ‘light’ is the only word that springs to mind.

        I haven’t really come across that with too many Christians – that is not to say I think badly of them. It’s just you seem to have such a simple yet complete faith in your Lord and it’s obvious even to one of a different faith. It’s calming.

        Like

      2. I’m so glad you find that, Jenni. Perhaps it’s because I came to my faith late in life. With decades of life experience comes some wisdom, I think. Or maybe He called me to Himself for the simple purpose of being a vessel.

        I do clearly understand the difference between Jesus’ words and being a legalist, and I fear many who were raised in the faith worship law instead of our God. and the love He asked us to so generously give.

        He has given me a peace beyond understanding. That’s probably why you feel a peace emanating from me. Thank you for that and the unity you feel. I think that’s the love of inclusion. Bless you, Jenni.

        Like

%d bloggers like this: