“The love of money, we know, is the root of all evil; but not the thing itself. The fault does not lie in the money, but in them that use it. It may be used ill: and what may not? But it may likewise be used well: It is full(y) as applicable to the best, as to the worst uses.”  — John Wesley, “The Use of Money”

Perhaps the first lesson on becoming generous is that we learn to use money for the good that can come from it. For many, giving and generosity is an impulsive behaviour like throwing some coins into a can next to the cash register while you’re paying for your gas. That is not intentional giving. We read in 2 Corinthians 8: 3-4,

For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints”

That is generosity with intention. It is generosity whose goal is the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Dr David Livingston, missionary and explorer, said “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If anything I have will advance the interest of the kingdom it shall be used or given away. Only as by giving or using it, I may promote the glory of him who I owe all my hopes in time and eternity.” Another great missionary doctor, Albert Schweitzer said, “One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”

These men know how to give and they gave with a purpose: to serve Christ. In this they had the model He made of Himself:

“For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something– now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has–not according to what one does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:9-12