God’s first command to man was to be fruitful and increase in number (Genesis 1:28). In this command we see that man was created for a purpose that goes beyond the limited 120 years we may experience here on earth. To bear fruit is to live in the blessings of God, while increasing in number is to live with the intention of imparting that very blessing into the next generation – in other words – to leave a legacy. We were not created to take up space on this earth, but to make a difference and influence the lives of those around us, while equipping the future generations to walk in the fullness of God’s intention. And as most people continue to ask themselves, “Why am I alive,” the real question becomes, how do we as individuals with different gifts, talents, passions and desires leave a legacy? In Pastor Tracy’s message, Legacy, she explores how we leave a legacy here on earth through being generous and the importance of allowing our gratitude to motivate our generosity.
Psalm 112:5-6 is the evidence that our legacy begins with generosity as it states, “Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.” When we look at generosity in regards to it being the root of our eternal impact we see that the legacy, or the mark God made in our lives began with His generosity. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He loved us so much in fact, that He gave His one and only Son to die on a cross so we may become righteous and spend eternity in His presence (John 3:16). It is nothing more than the gift of grace, love and mercy which God freely granted us that continues to impact our hearts. And as we are created in His image, we are to be a reflection of who He is in this world; so if it is God’s generosity towards us and the kindness He extends which leads a man to repentance, then it is our generosity which changes the heart of another and allows them to see the goodness of God (Genesis 1:26, Romans 2:4). Our legacy is made when we give our gifts, talents and resources away.
However, it’s not enough just to give because we know it makes a difference and we desire to be known for more than our name. Our generosity must come from a heart of gratitude because it is not the gift that makes a difference, rather the love attached to the gift which softens the heart. When we give out of anything but a heart of love and thanksgiving, our generosity is influenced by the selfish ambition of obtaining a greater name, honor, position etc.; we give, seeking what the world associates with a legacy. But when we allow our gratitude to motivate our generosity, the love of Christ attaches itself to our acts of kindness and our giving no longer becomes self-focused, but reveals the value of another. Our legacy is built because through our thankfulness we stop focusing on the gift and more on how the gift can elevate another person to a greater sense of life and identity. A difference is made when we stop thinking of ourselves and begin looking for opportunities to help others live in freedom, strength, power and peace, knowing it’s all because of God’s gifts to us which allow us to do so.
- Scripture says that where a man’s treasure is, so is his heart (Matthew 6:21). What is your treasure in life? Where is your heart?
- Is your heart/treasure placed in something that limits you from living a generous lifestyle?
- What are things that may stop you from living a generous lifestyle?
- How can you align your heart with the generous heart of God?
- What are you able to give that can leave a legacy? Think outside of monetary giving.
- How can you create opportunities to be generous in your daily life?
- Do you believe that God will supply everything you need in order to live a generously?
Thank God for everything that He has given you. Thank God for supplying all of your needs according to His riches and glory. Pray that you would be sensitive to the moments where God is leading you to live generously and give the resources you have. Thank God for making you a blessing to those around you.
Encourage your group to find ways to be generous in their daily lives. Remind your group that generosity is not just monetary. Help them find the specific resources God has given them and encourage them to use them to show the love of Christ. Lead group members who may have a hard time giving to scriptures that remind them of all the things God has freely given them in order that they would experience a life and life more abundantly.