“Both-And” Generosity

by | Apr 18, 2019 | Notes from the Executive Director

“Sell everything you have, give it to the poor… then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22, NIV)

These are troubling words from Jesus. It’s difficult to know what to do with them. Should we sell off whatever we have to follow Jesus? Are we being disobedient if we refuse?

The fact that Jesus says, “sell everything and follow me” to the rich young ruler speaks volumes. Possessing wealth isn’t the deal-breaker when it comes to Kingdom service. Rather, it’s when wealth possesses us that following Jesus becomes impossible. This was the man’s problem.

Giving is often framed as an “either-or” scenario that pits neighbor against family. We want to share more generously with our neighbor — but what if there isn’t enough for our family? Understanding generosity this way naturally results in a tighter grip upon our wealth.

But from the vantage of Scripture, generous giving is not an “either-or” choice but a “both-and” opportunity.

Wealth is a gift from God to provide for both our families and Kingdom causes.

Jesus-followers make decisions about their wealth based on the priority of their relationships and the means available to them. Family members are included on the list of Kingdom causes!

If you’re feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to your giving, recall this reminder from the Apostle Paul: Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, NIV)

These are strong words by any standard; however, they underscore that caring for our household is also part of our ministry.

Jesus’ plan for you includes your wealth. For some (as with the rich young ruler), this includes parting with wealth in order to serve. But for others, it simply means giving generously to provide for the needs of the family and neighbors they’ve been entrusted to love.