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Generosity: Grace, the Gospel and the ministry of reconciliation

Photo of Annika Greco Thompson Annika Greco Thompson
4 min

Lately, I’ve been thinking new thoughts around generosity. 

What if it’s not just about giving? What if it’s actually central to our confession of the Gospel and more about the ministry of reconciliation than anything else? 

The grace of generosity

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul urges the congregation to give generously towards a collective offering for another congregation in need. To make his case, he uses the example set by the Macedonian churches who, despite their extreme poverty, gave generously – and not out of coercion. Paul says they pleaded for the privilege (2 Cor. 8:4).

What compels that kind of generosity? 


At the start of his appeal in chapter 8, Paul mentions the gift of grace four times in the span of nine verses. It’s a grace God gave to the Macedonian churches; it’s a grace that Paul and Titus are eager to see manifest amongst the Corinthian churches; it’s a grace God desires to bring to completion in every believer. 

Our confession of the Gospel

Not only does Paul imply that our generosity depends on our awareness and reception of God’s grace, but he also implies that being generous accompanies a Christian’s confession of the Gospel (2 Cor. 9:13). There are many things Christians do as part of our confession of faith: we pray, we attend church, we read Scripture, we try to abide by a biblical code of ethics, etc. But how integrally does generosity play a part in our confession of the Gospel? 

Sure, we believe that it’s good to help those in need and that Jesus does indeed call us to be generous. Many of us will give to charity at some point in the year, probably around Christmas or when filing our tax returns. Some of us tithe regularly. But is that all God asks of us? 

In the aforementioned verse, the implication is that we ought to be generous as part of our confession of faith regardless of our situation. That must mean that being generous and being a faithful follower of Jesus are inextricably linked: I love and follow Jesus, therefore I’m generous . Not only when I’m feeling prosperous, but also when I’m not

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The ministry of reconciliation

Finally, Paul also intimates that being generous is about relational reconciliation (2 Cor. 9:12–14). How does this work? When I am generous towards someone, one of the results is thanksgiving and praise to God. When someone praises and gives thanks to God, they are building and/or strengthening their relationship with him. When I am generous towards someone, my heart goes out to them and theirs to me. Now there is relationship. I am building a bridge towards someone (or something) and they are building a bridge towards me. We are being reconciled to each other. This may feel and sound abstract, but it’s a spiritual principle of which we can’t always tangibly see the fruit. But it’s there. 

One last thing about the ministry of reconciliation: it’s the entire point of our existence on earth as God’s people. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3, they were separated from God. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, reconciled us back to the Father. We, as his representation on this earth, are commissioned to gather all things into that reconciled state with God by making disciples of all nations. Essentially, loving God and loving our neighbour. Being generous is an integral part of this mission.

The generosity of God

If we consider that in his generosity God created this incredible planet, handed the stewardship of it over to a profoundly limited humanity and, despite our massive failings, has not sought to take back control but continues to love and empower his people to complete the mission, then how can we not but  be generous!?! Generous with our money, yes, and also with our emotions, our time, our abilities, our ideas, our homes – in and with everything we have – thereby causing creation to praise God and offer thanksgiving to him, reconciling all things to the Father. 

I truly believe that the day in which the whole of God’s church begins to practise generosity as an integral part of our faith confession is the day society is transformed on a massive scale. Let’s examine our ways, repent where needed and go be generous! 

More on money, the Bible and generosity

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Written by

Annika Greco Thompson

Annika is a Swedish-Italian-American with a diverse vocational and geographical background. Having married a Brit, she’s now settled in Liverpool and joined Stewardship’s Philanthropy Services Team in 2023.

Annika is passionate about seeing the Kingdom of God transform all areas of society and equipping the Church to live out its calling as God’s agents of reconciliation. She loves to live generously and expansively through hospitality, travel and strategic giving.