A reflection on generosity from Daniel Bourdanné
What first comes to your mind when you think of generosity? Maybe it is the philanthropist who has made national — or even international — news headlines for the large sums of money they give to charity. Maybe it is that time in your life when you were struggling and you were overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and family. Maybe you think of the warm hospitality of someone who opens their home to others or examples from Scripture when the Israelites or the Macedonians brought far more than was needed.
Our God is a loving and generous God
We know what love is because he first loved us (1 John 3:16). Don’t we also understand generosity because he lavishes so much on us? His gifts to us are abundant: gifts of life, of creation and its beauty, of community, and — above all — the gift of Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for us. Our Lord and Saviour is the key; as we see in Colossians, all things were created through him and for him.
Responding to God’s gifts
Certainly we give thanks to our Father in heaven, knowing that all good gifts come from him. I see our response is really an opportunity to give ourselves back to God. It is an opportunity for generous living.
So yes, we give thanks for all things and for the particular gifts God has given us. For the student community — as with all of us — we should not take what we have for granted. Look at the world around you: only around 6% of the world’s population moves into higher education. It is a gift from God to be able to study. You are part of a very tiny proportion to reach that level of university and college. So give thanks for the opportunities God gives us to study.
But as we give thanks to God, recognizing his generosity to us and dedicating ourselves to him, the Holy Spirit enables us to love, serve and be available to others. That might be our immediate friends and family, those in our dormitory or on our course, or our church family. We may also have opportunities to live generously in relation to how we use our time, resources and experience to serve the wider world. Our generous living is always about giving to God, to our communities, to his creation around the world. Such service is an act of worship to God.
Daniel Bourdanné, October 2017
An invitation to IFES World Student Day
The theme of our annual day of prayer this year is A Generous Life. Please join us in praying together. And as we pray, let’s ask our Father for a generous heart among our movements in response to God’s love toward us. Find out more and get involved at ifeswsd.org
Here is a personal invitation from Daniel: