Why are some people more generous than others?
A person’s generosity does not seem to correlate with the amount of their financial possessions. We all know of people with little that are extremely generous. And conversely, those who have much who are anything but giving of their resources to others.
In Luke 18 and 19 we read of two men who were both financially prosperous. Each of these men seek and encounter Jesus but the results of their experience were dramatically different.
First, we meet a wealthy, young, ruler who comes to Jesus in Luke 18 asking a sincere question.
What must one do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus tells him to sell everything and follow Him. The young man walks away sad. He simply could not meet the terms Jesus was offering.
In Luke 19, we then meet Zacchaeus. He was likely not as popular as the ruler in Luke 18. He was a tax collector. Despised by both the Romans and the Jews, all Zacchaeus probably had was his money. But he knew it wasn’t enough. And so we find him searching out Jesus by climbing up into a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as He passed by.
Imagine his surprise and delight when Jesus declared that He would be coming to the home of Zacchaeus.
This encounter with Zacchaeus dramatically changed him.
He declares to Jesus that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and repay anyone he has ever defrauded 4 times what he stole from them. Jesus then declares that salvation has come to Zacchaeus.
Coming back to the question of the wealthy ruler, what must a person do to be saved?
At first glance, it would seem salvation is purchased. Just sell everything you have and join a monastery and you’re in! But this is not at all what Jesus has in mind.
Both the young ruler and Zacchaeus were given the same answer to the question.
Salvation is found when we seek after Jesus as our ultimate treasure. When we declare that Jesus alone can satisfy us. When we come to Him on His terms trusting in His grace and forgiveness to free us to have a relationship with Him.
When we seek after Jesus for Himself and not what He can provide.
Giving up or giving away the financial possessions does not save anyone. Zacchaeus was not saved because he gave away more than half of his money. He was saved because he no longer treasured money, instead, he began to treasure what was really valuable, Jesus. This is something the young ruler was not able to do.
So why are some people more generous than others?
Luke 18 and 19 give us an answer.
When God captivates us and becomes our ultimate treasure it frees us to become more generous.
But make no mistake. This call to focus on Jesus as our ultimate treasure is a lifelong battle. The material pleasures this world offers us pull at us with an incredible force. But praise God His grace is stronger. And what would seem impossible to us is possible with God (Luke 18:??).
And so, it is imperative that we continue to immerse ourselves is the life-giving promises of God’s Word and ask Him to keep our satisfaction based on Him alone. As a result, we can be free to be truly generous and enjoy the incredible blessings that come from a life built on generosity.
And so, as we leave these two men in Luke 18 and 19 we are forced to ask ourselves which one
Are we seeking to find our identity, joy, and happiness in the material things of this world or in our Savior?
Are we content with who Jesus is for us that we are free to be generous with everything He has entrusted to us?
Is Jesus our treasure?