Be Generous Like God

Be Generous Like God

Be generous like God
We are told to be generous, right? How do you feel about it? How would you feel if someone told you to not to try to be more generous than God? I was puzzled for sure. Especially when it was Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – August 20, 1153). Read it yourself! What could it mean?

“The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself … Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare … You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.”

I know we can’t be generous without God. I know God is generous. I know we need to pass on what we receive in order to not to start stink (stagnant water and all that). I know we are blessed for being generous. But why should we not try to be more generous than God? Shouldn’t we be as generous as possible? Well, I think there’s no way we can be more generous than God. We are just not able to do it. But shouldn’t we at least strive to be more generous than God?

What Bernard of Clairvaux is trying to say here is that we can’t do God’s work on our own. We can’t even just pass on what we hear if we don’t let it to permeate in our own hearts first. God’s word needs to be received and let it run its course in us before we can pass it on to others. We need to be reservoirs, not canals. We need to abide in God and be filled with the Spirit to overflowing. Then we won’t get burned out. Then we will naturally be generous like God.

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. (2 Cor. 9:8,10-11, NLT)

We are called to be generous like God. But we are not called to be more generous than God. There’s a huge difference. When we are generous like God, we abide in God and let him work in and through us. When we try to be more generous than God, we lean towards self-rightousness and that is a road to disaster.

Everything good starts in grace and ends in grace. And everything in between is grace. We are called to live in this amazing grace and let the overflowing goodness of God spill on to others. That’s what being generous like God is all about.


Gracious God,
We thank you and we praise you
for being so generous with us.
Enable us to always abide in you
and be filled with your Spirit.
Show us how to be generous like you.
In Jesus’ name,

Q4U: Do you know how to be generous like God? Are you a reservoir of a canal?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you abide in God and let God’s graciousness overflow to others!

Image courtesy of Joshua Einwechter, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

2 thoughts on “Be Generous Like God

  1. Great quote and discussion, Mari-Anna! Too many of us pour ourselves out without taking the time to allow God to fill us up! Done rightly we should be able to give greatly and retain much! Have a blessed week!

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