For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
I wonder what this famous verse says to you when you read it? Obviously the verse speaks about God’s love, and the way to obtain the gift of eternal life, but there is more. Consider the word gave. God could have given anything out of His infinite plenty, but He didn’t. God gave just one thing, but this happened to be the most precious thing He possessed. God sent His Son Jesus Christ knowing and fully understanding what Jesus would have to live through, including the pain that would be inflicted upon Jesus, and the way in which He would die. Add to that the pain that God must have experienced as Father to Jesus. There was the pain of separation for one thing, not to mention the pain of watching Jesus suffer.
The one thing that leaps out at me from this verse more than anything is the generosity of God. He didn’t have to give us anything, but he chose to give us everything. I am thrilled to know that God is generous. If I look carefully I see that all creation shouts of God’s extravagant generosity.
Shouldn’t the generosity of God be contagious? If we become infected with the generosity of God then surely there will be a domino effect as others too become contagiously generous. The generosity of God challenges us to be generous in all circumstances: in family life, in our neighbourhoods, at work, and especially at church with our Christian brothers and sisters. Could we offer a meal to someone? What needs do we see around us that we have the ability to meet? And what about those who serve sacrificially in different roles in church, especially our pastors. Are we generous to our pastors and their families or do we have an ‘I pay his/her wages attitude?’
As a child of The Manse I recall the couple who came round every Christmas Day in the middle of the afternoon with extravagant gifts for their pastor’s children. These were the most expensive gifts we ever received as children. The memory of this generous couple (now in glory) who became Uncle and Aunty to us has never faded. They knew that my parents could not afford to spend much on us children. It wasn’t that they were wealthy in monetary terms. Far from it. Uncle Clarry drove a lorry for the Guernsey Dairy, and as far as I know Aunty Iris never worked. The wealth that Uncle Clarry and Aunty Iris had was tied up in their generous natures, bestowed upon them by the Holy Spirit in response to the generosity of God in the gift of His Son to all mankind. How about you? Is the generosity of God evident to the people around you in the way that you live?