In the early American Colonies, much of the relationship between Colonists and Native Americans was economic. They would meet at a trading post and trade goods such as food, weapons, tobacco, and clothing supplies. The goal of trading was always to measure the value of what you were trading against the value of what you were getting, and walk away getting what you wanted or needed. So the traders always had to weigh out what they were trading and what they were getting in return.
Jesus said something very similar. He said, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it” (Luke 14:28 ESV)? This is shortly after telling His disciples that it would cost them everything to follow Him. So He is saying, “Look at what it will cost you to get what I am offering.”
Jesus offers a lot. He promises eternal life. Not just everlasting life, but everlasting life with Him that is without pain, suffering, tears, and heartache (it will be our reality someday). He promises to love us in a way that no one else ever has. When we were His enemies, He pursued us. When we failed Him, He stayed faithful to us. When we were insecure, He made us secure. I could go on and on…for all of the amazing promises He lays out before us.
Giving and being generous can be a sacrifice sometimes. Being generous may mean going without your time, your desires, your money, etc. But when you weigh it against everything that God promises, the word “sacrifice” seems to melt away and the word “trade-up” comes to mind. Though it costs you time, though you give your money, Jesus gives you Himself and all of His promises.
So the generous heart is rooted in the truth that in Jesus, you will always have everything you need, and if you don’t have something…Jesus is still enough. Paul said it this way, ”Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ, indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7-8 ESV).