January 19, 2024

Living Open-handed or Closed-handed

Brian Eno

Would you describe yourself as a generous person? 

When it comes to generosity, we live our lives either open-handed or closed-handed. Some live closed-handed, tight-fisted, hoarding every possession like it’s their last. They are reluctant to give even a dollar to their family, church, or a friend in need. Others live open-handed, recognizing that every good gift they possess came from God. They are always willing to give where they see a need or a worthy investment.  

I grew up in a single-parent home with six siblings for most of my childhood. My mom made many sacrifices to provide the essentials, but we never seemed to have much extra. This resulted in me living closed-handed and feeling uncertain about the future. 

That began to change when I met my future wife. No one taught me more about living open-handed and generously than Barbara and the Holy Spirit. I would say I was frugal when we started dating; she would say I was a tightwad. I still remember one time when we talked about marriage and money, which is not a good combination. As the conversation got deeper and more uncomfortable, Barbara looked at me and said, “If you’re going to behave this way, I don’t know if I want to marry you.” That was a wake-up call because I sure wanted to marry her. This conversation started me on a journey of deeper trust and greater generosity. 

One might ask: Why does God care if His people are generous? Because He is a generous God. God’s story is a story of generosity.

The most popular verse in the Bible is about generosity: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he GAVE His one and only son.” God the Father gave His son Jesus. Jesus gave his life for humanity. The Holy Spirit produces fruit and gives gifts to God’s people so we can live the Christian life. We are never more like God than when we’re giving.

I recently read a Barna Study on The State of Generosity that reveals how Millennials and Gen Z are eager to be more generous despite current economics. The majority of these two generations believe that now is a good time to be generous. If the church is to be positioned to benefit from this generosity, we must evaluate our methods of receiving gifts such as tithes and offerings. The younger generations operate in a cashless society and primarily give digitally. Daniel Yonge of ChurchLeaders wrote a great blog titled 5 Ways to Optimize Your Church Giving Page. Every pastor needs to read his article and consider implementing his suggestions to give these younger generations opportunities to invest in the kingdom of God and for the church to benefit from their newfound generosity.

I hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to contact me if I can ever help you or your church.

Leadership Truth: A great leader will always give more than they get.

Oregon Ministry Network

5745 Inland Shores Way N
Keizer, OR 97303