by: Richelle Torres
ROI of Generosity
by Thaddeus Williams, Missions and Community Engagement Pastor
The return on investment (ROI) metric is used to measure the profitability or return of an investment in comparison to the cost. In other words, if I put this much into something, how much will I get back in return? Although ROI is most often used to refer to business or finance, it can also apply to other assets such as time or attention. Whether we know it or not, we use the concept of ROI almost every day when making decisions. We ask ourselves, “Is this worth my time, energy, or money?” While it is important and prudent to budget to make the most of our scarce resources, it quickly becomes apparent that basing our decisions on ROI can come from a place of selfishness in that we are expecting something in return.
The Christian life, marked by generosity, flips the concept of ROI on its head. Being created in the image of God, we are to be generous just as He is generous. Generosity is the quality of being kind and liberal in giving. Whenever we show generosity to someone, it just feels good! That is because we were created this way, in God’s image. We see evidence of God’s generosity all around us. He created the world in which we live, sustains our every breath, and provides for our needs. Above all, God demonstrated His generosity toward us when He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, as the atoning sacrifice for our sin (John 3:16). This was the ultimate act of generosity!
The Bible has much to say about generosity being a vital part of living a God-centered life. We are to show generosity to everyone, as we have the opportunity (Matthew 5:42). When we have plenty, we should be willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18). Here is the bottom line: in our generosity, we are not to expect repayment in kind (Luke 6:29;34-35). That is pretty radical and countercultural! It contradicts the premise of ROI. We are to give freely and generously, without expectation of return.
But there is yet another twist... God challenges us to be generous because He wants us to experience the blessing that comes from generosity (Luke 6:38). God is seeking people who will reflect His character and glorify Him through being generous to others. He delights in blessing His people to show Himself faithful. Our reward comes from the Lord in His way and in His time.
Proverbs 11:24-25 reminds us, “one person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Whenever we show generosity and bless others, we too are blessed. When we focus on making eternal investments by serving and blessing others, God will return to us more than we could ever imagine! Let us be faithful and generous with everything God has entrusted to us. After all, everything we have really belongs to Him. Remember, generosity can be manifested in many different ways (money, time, attention, etc.). Pray and ask God how you might show generosity to someone this week.