vs. Stinginess
Realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes

Key Verse

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
II Corinthians 9:6

The operational definition of generosity is “realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes.” Not only does He have a special plan for your life, but He also has distinct purposes for the possessions He has given to you. Your belongings, talents, abilities, and time have all been created and given to you by God. He has chosen you to be His steward, one who attentively cares for and wisely uses the gifts entrusted to you. As a steward, you will be held accountable to develop your talents, invest your time, and utilize your possessions to fulfill God’s purposes. His purposes not only include providing for your needs through food, clothing, and shelter, but also reaching beyond to provide for others through you! God desires to actively involve you in His plan to meet others’ needs, spread His message of redemption, and edify the Body of Christ.

Just as God multiplies the farmer’s seeds to become a great harvest, so God will multiply the Gospel “seeds” we sow for His Kingdom.
Selfishly clinging to our resources keeps us from experiencing the joy and blessing of giving.

The opposite of generosity is stinginess. A stingy person is unwilling to give of himself or his possessions to meet the needs of others. Instead, he clings tightly to what he has in order to fulfill his own selfish desires. He does not fully grasp that God has and will provide for his needs, so he seeks to control what is “his” and to decide when and how it is used. He doesn’t think to share with others or to ask, “How does God want me to use this item?” Instead, a stingy person claims ownership that is not really his as he exclaims, “That’s mine!” One who holds fast to what is his may justify his behavior as thriftiness, but a thrifty person saves to give or spend wisely when legitimate needs arise.

Evaluation Questions

  • Do I recognize God as the Owner and Provider of everything I possess?
  • Do I acknowledge that I am only a steward of the possessions and abilities God has given to me?
  • Is being rich with money more important to me than being “rich in good works”?
  • How often have I sacrificed things I wanted in order to give to another’s needs?
  • Does my use of time, talents, and money demonstrate that I place greater value on eternal treasure than on earthly benefits?
  • Have I ever given to meet a need without anyone, including the recipient, knowing that I was the one who gave?
  • Am I sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to give, or do I give or withhold based on my own thoughts and feelings?

More About Generosity

Generosity begins with the seeds of faith, increases with the trials of hope, and blossoms with the fruit of genuine love.
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Generosity with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Be a good steward.

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” I CORINTHIANS 4:1–2

Identify a need.

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” MATTHEW 25:35–36

Give of my time and talents.

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” ROMANS 12:6–8

Give of myself.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I JOHN 3:16

Save so that I can give.

“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” PROVERBS 21:20

Beware of covetousness.

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” LUKE 12:15

Sow bountifully.

“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” PROVERBS 11:24–25

Share what I have with others.

“And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.” LUKE 3:10–11

Give without expecting anything in return.

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” LUKE 6:35

Praise the good I see in others.

“Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” I CORINTHIANS 11:2

Generosity in Scripture

The Most Bountiful Offering

“And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
MARK 12:43–44
As Jesus was teaching one day, He warned His hearers to beware of the scribes, scholars of the Law. The scribes loved the attention gained by wearing long robes, and they often chose the best seats in the synagogues. They prayed long prayers so others would view them as spiritually elite. Through deceptive schemes, these scribes obtained monetary gifts from the weak and vulnerable, such as widows. Jesus proclaimed that these scribes would receive greater condemnation. Finishing His teaching, Jesus sat down in the outer court of the Temple. In this court were thirteen wooden boxes with bronze funnels shaped like trumpets. They were the offering boxes, each labeled with its unique purpose. Nine boxes were for the required Temple sacrifices as outlined in the Law, and the other four boxes were for voluntary offerings. People would drop coins into these funnels. As the coins fell into the metal funnels, they generated loud clinking noises, alerting everyone nearby of the gift that was given. As people gave their offerings that day, which giver would Jesus point out to His disciples? Why would He take note of this person? What would He say about that particular offering? Of those who gave offerings that day, who gave the most bountifully?

Revealed in Nature


With its large bill, the pelican generously provides fish for its young, as well as for other pelicans that are unable to feed themselves. A pelican can hold up to 3 gallons of water in its beak.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through the study of this booklet, children will see themselves as a steward of the possessions, talents, and time that God has entrusted to them to give for His purposes.

View the Generosity booklet sample:

Get the complete Generosity booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Generosity

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold.”
Frances Ridley Havergal