Generosity seems to be popular today. Who doesn’t remember Ty Pennington, ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover host? He encouraged the participants of the show to cry out, “Bus driver, move that bus!” in order to reveal the rehabilitated house given to its owners after a wild week of hammering and painting. On CBS’s Undercover Boss, employees are given by their boss, the means to achieve the aspirations they shared with a “new employee” – who turns out to have been their boss in disguise. There are philanthropic personalities, like Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, and thousands of others who give of their time and money to improve the lives of others.
Generosity actually dates to the beginning, not to the dawn of civilization but to the dawn of Creation. Do you remember Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 1 through 3?
Genesis 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God gave the heavens … and the earth … and … light. What? Wait. Don’t just read right on past that. He, the Creator of the universe, gave us LIGHT! How important is that? As far as we know, nothing, absolutely nothing in all of creation either on earth or in the heavens can live without it! Without light, plants don’t grow, without plants, animals die with nothing to eat and there is no oxygen regenerated into the air to breath. Water freezes and nothing survives, including us!
God didn’t just end the creation process with light. He also gave us an entire system of life ‒ so complex, that we are only now beginning to unravel its intricacies. He called it CREATION. And He called it “very good.”
Creation exists for us. He gave it to humankind to steward and enjoy. (Gen 1:26-30) He first placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, giving him one job, that of tending to the garden. (Gen 2:15) While Adam was tending the garden God created, God concluded that Adam had a need, something Adam never asked for, something he didn’t even realize he needed. Why didn’t Adam know? Because Adam was content, satisfied with his relationship – this as-yet, unchanged relationship with God. But, being foreknowing (Isa 46:10), God could see his need. It was “not good for man to be alone.” (Gen 2:18a) So, He created Eve (Gen 2:21-23) to be a helpmate and companion for Adam. (Gen 2:18b) A gift. A gift Adam didn’t even know he needed.
Let’s stop here for a moment. If God is foreknowing (and He is), then He knew that giving Eve to Adam would break the pure and undisturbed relationship between just Adam and Himself. Did you read that? He knew where this gift would lead! Even so, He blessed Adam with the gift – which Adam had no inkling of how it would ultimately satisfy him. More so, God, being foreknowing, also knew the outcome with Eve and Adam in the Garden as they would face the temptation that evil would bring them and the consequences they would face because of yielding to it. Having created Adam and Eve with the power to choose between good and evil, He knew they would sin (Rom 8:29; 1 John 3:30; Isa 48:3-5), lose the power to choose good on their own, and now, really rupture that pure and undisturbed relationship with Him for which they were created. Even so, when that finally did happen, when they both ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and their relationship dramatically changed (Gen 3:1-7), He continued to be generous to them.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.