Generosity Is an Outgrowth of Transformation

May 14, 2020

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:8-9 NLT

You know the story of Zacchaeus, the “wee little man,” right? He is the hated tax collector who was fascinated by the ability of Jesus to gather a crowd, teach with power, and do miracles. You never knew what might happen when Jesus came around. He knew that Jesus was coming to town and he didn’t want to miss it. But he was short, and his lifestyle had cut him out of friends who would let him crowd to the front or hold him on their shoulders. So, he climbed a tree to get a view of Jesus when He came by. Much to his surprise, Jesus realized he was in the tree, called him to come down, and then shocked Zack and the crowd by inviting Himself to dinner.

Most of the crowd was infuriated. Why would the rabbi choose to spend His time with a sinner, a guy no one liked and was a known cheater? But Zacchaeus was profoundly affected very differently and personally. Suddenly he was not aware of the crowd in any way that mattered. It was him and Jesus. Meeting Jesus transformed him, and the first place it showed up was in his money. Jesus said where our treasure is shows where our hearts are. In that moment of meeting Jesus, Zack saw something that changed his perspective. In that moment, change began. His story is the story of personal transformation, and it started with his giving. Moved by Jesus’ investment in him, Zack changed from being a collector to being a giver.

In my own life and experience, the most deeply moving and satisfying stories are of those people who discovered generosity as a core value as they were spiritually transformed. It’s repeatedly with givers who, at some extraordinary moment in time, have been transformed and suddenly realize why they are here. Their hearts are changed, and they figure out since they met Jesus, they are not here to simply accumulate wealth, but to work with Jesus to create a story much greater than themselves. This is true redemption and transformation—moving from a self-focus to an other-focus, developing their supernatural potential through grace and generosity.

  • “God so loved the world that he gave…” God is the most completely generous giver. When He personally transforms us through a relationship with Him, generosity is a core characteristic of His DNA that becomes increasingly part of who we are. How would you rate yourself on the generosity scale?
  • How has your generosity grown since coming to know Christ? Would the people who know you best be able to tell a difference? Are there any changes you feel God prompting you to make?