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Church learning lessons in generosity

Genius is defined as an exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability. The word "genius" comes from the root word meaning "to produce." To be a genius, actually, is to produce something of exceptional quality. We call people like Einstein a genius because they have produced way above and beyond what others have.

The word "generosity" comes from the root word meaning from "noble birth" or having qualities associated with being like a king or a queen or a prince or a princess. I have been saying for years we as Christians are heirs to the King of Kings' throne. And the responsibility of people of noble birth was to care for the needs of those they had been entrusted with. They were called upon to be noble-minded and gracious, magnanimous in their generosity.

The Hebrew word for "generous" means "overflowing with water." It's a picture of not just meeting people's needs but having a cup of blessings that continually "runneth over." The Greek word for "generosity" is the word for "ready at any moment to distribute; ready to share, ready to give." I have found, when it comes to handling the resources God entrusts to us, we are to be smart, wise and even genius.

To be smart -- and you should be smart -- spend those resources carefully. To be wise -- and you should be wise -- save those resources regularly. But to be genius, you should give away those resources extravagantly.

It is genius to be generous because generosity works. Generosity changes our lives. It blesses our lives, enriches our lives, makes life better. It is the ultimate win-win proposition. When you give and when you're generous, a good feeling comes to you inside. Well, guess what? Here's the win-win. You get a good feeling by giving, and the people who receive what you give get a good feeling by receiving. You can't lose.

I believe God looks around for generous people, and when he finds them, He fills them up again. There are two different kinds of people. One of them is stream people. God is looking for people that he can drop blessings into the stream of their lives knowing they can use whatever they need, and then blessings travel on to other people.

The other kind of people are dam people. You know who those dam people are. When God drops blessings into a dam person's life, it rarely -- if ever -- flows downstream to bless others. Even if they do share, they don't share with the right attitude.

Generous stream people are the kind of people we want to be around. Generous people have friends. Generous people are attractive and attract others to them. Generous people are happier.

What's the opposite of being generous? Miserly. We say, "Oh, he's an old miser." How many people say, "I want to grow up and be like Scrooge." He's no one's hero.

Here's another shocker regarding the roots of words. The word "miser" has the same root as the word miserable.

Are you a generous stream person, or one of those dam miserable people? You get to choose.

Kyle Ermoian is the founding and senior pastor of Celebration Community Church.