"Your generosity ... not only provides for the needs of God's people, but also produces prayers of thanksgiving to God." (2 Corinthians 9:12)
When we're generous with each other, we thank God for each other and we're drawn closer to each other.
One of my friends learned the connection between generosity and community when one of his neighbors came by to borrow a ladder. A few weeks later, my friend discovered his neighbor already had a ladder, but the neighbor borrowed one as a way of building a relationship.
My friend said, "When my neighbor borrowed my stuff, it made me feel like I was needed, and I liked that feeling. Now I do the same thing with other neighbors. For instance, my neighbor, Roger, has a Shop Vac, and I borrow it every Friday to clean my car. Roger even leaves it out for me on Fridays. I told Roger the other day that I could buy my own Shop Vac, but I liked the interaction with him. He told me not to buy one because he liked the interaction, too."
The Bible says, "Your heart will be wherever your treasure is." (Matthew 6:21) Wherever I put my time, my money, my effort, my energy, wherever I invest myself - that's what's going to attract me.
For some of you, your heart may be in your home. That's where you're putting your time, your money, and your energy - fixing it up. Or your heart may be in your work. That's where you're putting your time, your money and your energy. Or it may be in a hobby. That's where you're putting your time, your money and your energy. Wherever your treasure is, your heart's going to be there.
So, when I'm generous with you or with the poor or with anybody, that's where my heart tends to go. And every time I give to God, it draws my heart closer to God, and every time I give to you, it draws my heart closer to you. Giving or generosity creates community.
The first Christians were famous for their generosity. "The community of believers... shared everything in common." (Acts 4: 32) They were a family; they shared it all: 'What's mine is yours, and you can share it with me.' It was voluntary. Christianity says, "What's mine is yours and you can share it with me."
When you're a parent, and you have little kids in your home, you enjoy watching them share with each other? When you see that your kids are unselfish, you're very happy with that.
And God is the same way.
When God looks down on us and He sees us being generous with each other He says, "That's My boy! That's My girl! They're doing what I want them to do." Because God is generous, and He wants us to become like Him.