The more we give in Christ’s name, the more life he will put into us. And the more life we have flowing into us, the more that life will flow out of us to others.
“Give, and it will be given to you,” Jesus said. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38, NIV).
By giving generously of our money and possessions, we’re able to open our hands to receive the abundant life God has for us. God is the greatest giver in the universe, and it’s impossible to outgive him. This is not prosperity theology. It is simply the way our generous God delights to work in the lives of his children.
Out of a deep love for Jesus, Pete and Debbie Ochs decided to acquire a business constructing industrial products in prisons. They employ inmates, some of whom have committed violent crimes. They invest in these prisoners’ lives by offering life lessons on topics like parenting, finances and relationships. Pete says, “In one of our life lessons, we presented this whole concept of generosity and challenged [the prisoners] that we would match dollar for dollar any dollar that they gave to one of a number of charities and we gave them a list. It was amazing the amount of money that these prisoners gave to charity … Most of the charities … existed to help the victims of the crimes that they committed.”
Pete’s ministry to prisoners reflects the heartbeat of Scripture. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may —” That they may what? Have only enough to live on so they no longer have to steal? No. “That they may have something to share with those in need” (NIV, emphasis added).
Giving isn’t just for those with squeaky-clean records; it’s for all of us.
Pete and Debbie’s overflowing good life has not only brought these men the gospel but has also introduced them to the overflow of joyful giving so they, too, can experience abundant life.
The good life in Christ is not only wonderful for those who live it; it is also a joy for those who behold it.
Generosity is just as contagious as materialism. However, it brings life instead of death.
This is an excerpt from Randy Alcorn's “Giving is the Good Life.” Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and a New York Times best-selling author of over 50 books, including “Giving is the Good Life” and “Heaven.” All royalties from his books are given to Christian ministries, including world missions and organizations that care for the poor.