“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24

The Bible encourages us to exude generosity, but so often we hold tightly to our money for fear of losing what we have, or not getting anything back in return. Dr. John Thornton speaks to the importance of following Jesus’ example by having a generous spirit.

“When I have a generous spirit, I’m thankful to God that He’s given me enough to take care of myself and be able to help someone else out. When I have a generous spirit, I have this thing called contentment.”

“When I have a stingy spirit, the other way around, I see all the things I don’t have and I’m discontent. Being stingy is a view that keeps you from being able to be content. To be truly rich, it’s got to be beyond this world and beyond yourself. Jesus tell us about how to do that and generosity unlocks that.”

Money will never bring us contentment; only God can satisfy our deepest longings and desires in life. Dr. Thornton provides three reasons why he thinks we should give, and why God encourages us to give throughout Scripture.

1. Giving reflects God’s character.

“God is the true giver, not us. He says so many more verses about Him giving to us, than Him ever asking us to give back. He just squashes our own giving, so we give to reflect His kindness and justice or righteousness; we reflect His character.”

2. Through giving we are blessed.

We sometimes think that Jesus is trying to take things away from us, but John reminds us that He’s actually trying to enrich us through the giving process.

“It is more blessed to give than receive” Acts 20:35

3. Giving sets us free from a bad master.

Jesus warns us in Matthew 6:24 that we can’t serve both money and God. Through generosity, we are proclaiming that we won’t let money become our master.

“Money is a bad master. When we give, it’s like it gets money’s hook out of us; it sets us free from a bad master.”

Generosity is the key that unlocks the door to financial contentment. As we trust God and give with a generous spirit, it enables us to receive far more in return than any amount of money could offer.


Dr. John Thornton is a CPA with a Ph.D. in Accounting from Washington State University. He is the L.P. and Bobbi Leung Chair of Accounting Ethics at Azusa Pacific University. He is author of Jesus' Terrible Financial Advice: Flipping the Tables on Peace, Prosperity, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The key to financial contentment

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