That noble, warmhearted readiness to bless others by freely giving out of an open hand, unstintingly. This is the meaning Bible writers often expressed in their writings, a deeper meaning than is usually conveyed by our English words ‘generous’ or ‘liberal.’ Jehovah himself is the personification of generosity, the One who fully supplies all the needs of his obedient creatures “according to his will.” (1 John 5:14; Phil. 4:19) Every good gift and perfect present is from him, including such an intangible gift as wisdom.—Jas. 1:5, 17.
Moses urged his fellow Israelites to cultivate this divine quality of generosity, even when making a loan on pledge. “You must not harden your heart or be closefisted toward your poor brother. For you should generously open your hand to him. . . . You should by all means give to him, and your heart should not be stingy in your giving to him. . . . That is why I am commanding you, saying, ‘You should generously open up your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land.’”—Deut. 15:7-11.
Says the proverb: “The generous soul [literally, “the soul with a blessing gift”] will itself be made fat [prosperous], and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.” (Prov. 11:25) Jesus Christ expressed it this way: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Again he said: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 6:38.
IN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION
The apostle Paul also stated this proverbial truth in yet another way: “He that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Since this is so, the apostle reasons, “let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6, 7) Paul continues, pointing to Jehovah’s great example of generosity, not only in abundantly supplying seed for the sower and bread for food, but also in how He enriched the Corinthian brothers “for every sort of generosity,” that they might be generous toward others. Such gestures of generosity, Paul declared, resulted in “an expression of thanks to God.”—2 Cor. 9:8-13.
Paul, encouraging this same godly generosity, wrote the Romans (12:8): “He that distributes, let him do it with liberality.” To the Hebrews (13:16) he wrote: “Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The congregations in Macedonia were outstanding examples of generous giving. The fact that they had even joyfully gone “beyond their actual ability,” contributing out of their poverty, made “the riches of their generosity abound.”—2 Cor. 8.1-4.
Let it be noted that these scriptures on generosity and liberality are not in conflict or out of balance with others that condemn ingrates, sluggards and lazy persons. For example, the lazy one who will not plow in cold weather deserves nothing when begging in harvesttime; he that refuses to work is not entitled to the generosity of others. (Prov. 20:4; 2 Thess. 3:10) Widows were not to be put on the list for relief unless they qualified. (1 Tim. 5:9, 10) The contributions made by the congregations throughout Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia were not for the needy ones among pagan worshipers in general, but for “the holy ones” that were in need.—1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 9:1, 2.