By Ryne Brewer
In my younger years, I held the belief that only the wealthy could express generosity. Back then I associated generosity with substantial monetary donations, but my perspective began to shift in my early twenties. During this time I was captivated by the boundless generosity of God revealed through Jesus, and my understanding of generosity expanded. I realized generosity can come in the form of extreme or unconventional acts of giving—you could donate all possessions to charity, provide homes for the homeless, or establish foundations that uplift impoverished communities. Or generosity can look like deeply personal and meaningful acts, such as volunteering time to help others, or regularly donating blood.
It took repeated contemplation of God’s generosity in Christ for me to grasp its profound essence. What I came to realize is that God’s radical generosity incorporates all of these interpretations simultaneously. This is best exemplified in Romans 8:23, where God’s generosity is demonstrated by giving His only Son. God giving us His Son encompasses the larger and personal aspects of generosity. In biblical times, a son held significance in the family as the bearer of his father’s legacy and honor. Reflecting on Abraham’s willingness to offer his only son as a sacrifice to God (Genesis 22:1–18), we see the gravity of such a sacrifice. Abraham’s son represented all he held dear, more valuable than any material possession.
Yet this act of Abraham’s sacrifice foreshadowed the advent of God’s ultimate generosity. In the biblical story, God intervened to prevent the sacrifice of Abraham’s son by providing a ram in Isaac’s place. In the advent of Jesus, God intervened again, but this time He gave His only Son to the world. The generosity of God in sending Jesus was extreme as a world engulfed in death was given redemption and forgiveness through Jesus’s sacrifice. And it was personal as God Himself took action to redeem humanity and the world through Jesus.
This Advent season I find myself in awe of our generous provider, Jesus, who embodies the essence of generosity in its purest form, offering salvation and eternal life to all who believe. In contemplating this profound act of generosity, I am reminded that true giving goes beyond material wealth; it touches hearts, transforms lives, and reflects the very nature of God’s boundless love for the world. Jesus proves to us that our generous provider has come. So the old hymn rings even more true this season. “To God be the glory / Great things He has done / So loved He the world that He gave us His Son!”