While the ongoing pandemic has badly hit the hospitality industry, a customer at a Colorado restaurant decided to help out the employees by leaving a generous tip.

In a Facebook post, the Notchtop Bakery & Cafe shared a picture of their employees with a $1,400 tip, as well as the tipper’s message that said, “Covid sucks. $200 for each employee today”. “Thank you ‘Covid Bandit’ for your generous gift to our staff. Your gift has touched many lives,” read the post’s caption.

Since being shared online, the post has gone viral and many people are praising the man for his generous tip and for helping those in need.

The surprising generosity of one man has made national news, and has likely impacted these lives significantly. A good question to be asked, then, is, “Why we don’t hear more news stories about the overwhelming generosity of Christians?”

People get funny when we talk about money, and they get strange when we talk about change.

Money is an extension of who we are, isn’t it? For a small piece of paper, it carries a lot of weight. We spend so much time trying to get money and invest money and protect money and save our money and spend our money and hoard our money. Money, money, money, money, money. “Show me the money!” Money talks, right, it says, “Good-bye!”

1 Corinthians 16 is an important chapter where Paul ends this powerful letter in a strong way. This chapter points to open doors. He tells us some great attitudes and actions that will lead to joy and growth in your life.

You need a Generous Attitude to be Spiritually Healthy

1 Corinthians 16:1-3

Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

This message from Paul isn’t just for the rich churches or for certain Christians, this is for all churches.

It’s clear that God loves and cares for the poor. He commanded his people to care for the poor. The New Testament church shared this concern. So, when famines struck Judea, the church rallied together to care for the poor by collecting a special relief offering.

Judea and other parts of the Mediterranean world experienced famines because of flooding, drought, or other harsh weather. Famines sometimes occurred even in areas that produced good crops. Several famines plagued the Mediterranean area between A.D. 46 and 54. It was the last of these that Paul was referring to when he wrote 1 Corinthians. Although conditions in Corinth were also bad, the Corinthians must have had enough food to survive.

Paul did not expect the Corinthians to give beyond their ability, but he wanted them to share what they had to provide help for the believers in Judea who were in poverty.

The church must meet the needs of the poor, the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the lost, and the thousands of people who have little, if anything, in this world, including health and hope. Believers must give sacrificially. Believers must do all they can. These instructions are for all the churches of the world.

The Bible says that attitudes are much more important than amounts. That’s why God developed the principle of tithing. It’s the fair thing. God could have said, “Everybody give $50 a week.” For some people, they don’t make $50 a week. For some that’s a drop in the bucket. It wouldn’t be fair if God set a specific amount. Instead, He says, bring a set proportion.

4 Attitudes of a Generous Christian  

1.    We’re to give willingly.

God is more interested in my attitude than the amount. 2 Corinthians 9:12 “For if the willingness is there, your gift is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have.”  It’s according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have. When God looks at our giving, He’s not impressed with the amount. He doesn’t look at the amount you give, He looks at the amount you have left over, in proportion to what you gave.  

1 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under pressure.

I want to relieve a little bit of guilt, never give under pressure. The Scripture says you are to never give under pressure. You’re to give willingly, not reluctantly. If you feel pressured to give, you can say, “My pastor said I wasn’t supposed to give.” Because the Bible says if you give under pressure it’s not the kind of giving God wants. You don’t give to make up a budget deficit, you give because God says so whether the church needs it or not. The issue is, I need to give for my own benefit.  

2.    Give joyfully. 

“God loves a cheerful giver.” Bumper sticker: “God loveth a cheerful give but He also accepteth from a grouch.” The Greek word for “cheerful” is where we get our word “hilarious” from. In the New Testament church, when they gave, it was hilarious. In the modern church today, when you take the offering, that’s the low point of the service. If you can’t give cheerfully, don’t give. You don’t get credit for giving that’s not cheerful. If you can’t tithe cheerfully, what you need to work on is your attitude. 

How can you give joyfully when you have so many bills to pay? Whenever I don’t feel too joyful about giving, I go back and review the six benefits of what giving does in my life. (1) It makes me more like God, (2) It draws me closer to God, (3) It’s the antidote to materialism, (4) It strengthens my faith, (5) It’s an investment for eternity, (6) It blesses me in return. It makes me happy. When I begin to think about the benefits of generosity, I start getting joyful about it again. 

3.    Give generously.

2 Corinthians 8:3-4 “They gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability.  Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service.”

This is an incredible church. Paul says they were begging to give. They gave beyond their ability. This is the first financial principle of bringing a tithe.  

People ask me, “What if I can’t afford to tithe?” I say, “You can’t afford not to.” If you want God’s blessing on your finances, you need to give. You need to obey what He’s said.  

4.    Give expectantly.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously.” 

God says it’s like the farmer who sows seed. If a farmer had a tough crop last year and he only has a few seeds does he say, “I can’t afford to plant this seed”?  He can’t afford not to.  He’s got the choice of either eat it himself or plant it.  He can eat it himself and that’s going to last one meal.  Or he can plant it.  God says if you want a big harvest, you plant a lot.  If you want a little harvest, you plant a little. How you plant is how you reap. It’s up to you.

They said they were one church. And they wanted to help meet each other’s needs. Even though they were diverse. 

Bringing an offering demonstrates unity as a church.

On the first day of every week, we come together and give. Giving is not doing business and paying bills. It is worship!

Giving put their faith into action.

They were sending the money with people they trusted who had strong character to help.

Giving is a habit.

“On the first day of every week.” That was the Lord’s Day – which is Sunday, the day Jesus’ rose from the dead was when they gathered for worship.

When/How often should we give?

Regularly – the first day of the week. As often as you get paid. Do you get paid once a week, every other week, or monthly? That’s how often you should give.

Who should give?

“Each one of you” – All of us are better than any one of us. We’re better together. Every Christian, every church member.  Not all can give the same amount, but all can do something. All can worship through what they have. All then feel included in the outcome and the ministry.

How Much should I give?

In keeping with your income – Proportionate. 

A specific amount of money – 10%, God could have said 50%, but He said, 10%.

I want to be a person who wants to give.

Where should I give?

The Local Church! This is where you are blessed, encouraged, grown, reach, all through. There are so many reasons we should give to God through the local church.

It takes a plan!

Kirk Cousins, starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, makes more in a year than many people make in a lifetime. But NFL careers have an expiration date. In fact, an old joke is that NFL stands for “not for long.” So, Cousins is committed to giving and saving in a way that will enable his family to continue giving generously for the rest of his life.

Back in 2005, when he was in high school, Cousins heard about the ministry of International Justice and their work fighting human trafficking and slavery. Cousins was moved. Instead of traveling with the organization or joining the staff, he had in his mind that he wanted to support IJM financially. Cousins said. “I walked out of the service that night and prayed, God give me more to steward, give me an opportunity to help some day.”

That didn’t happen immediately. But after college, Cousins was drafted to the Washington Football Team in 2012 as a backup quarterback, signing a $2.5 million four-year rookie contract. In his fourth year, the team promoted him to starting quarterback and he signed a one-year $20 million deal. When his contract expired, the Team signed him for another year for $24 million. Going into his seventh year in the NFL, Cousins and the team weren’t able to agree on a long-term deal, and he signed a three-year fully guaranteed $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.

He said, “There aren’t many starting quarterbacks who are 50 or 60 years old. At some point, unfortunately, what I’m doing ends—earlier than I’d like—and the income stream gets cut off.” With that in mind, Cousins is learning to save so that even after he is no longer playing professional football, he can increase his giving percentage each year.

What kind of heart do I have to give to God and to others today?