The following quotes are from John Webster’s (1955–2016) sermon on generosity. His text was 2 Corinthians 8:9.
“The gospel declares to us and offers us the free gift of life—a life that we have not earned or built up out of our own resource, a life that we don’t need to hang on to at all costs, because it’s ours in God, by God’s gift of grace. And because the gospel is about that gift of God, it abolishes the need to possess, to build up a wall of property around ourselves. Because the gospel is true, then we’re set free to do what Paul says these Macedonian Christians are doing—to live beyond our means. The good news of God’s lavish goodness toward us sets us free from the cramp that afflicts us when we hold on to our property. The gospel announces that God has delivered us from possession and freed us for joy, for liberality, and for excess. Through Jesus Christ—through the one who is God’s generosity in person—we have been released to live generously with the saints” (131).
“The people of the church are not their own. They do not own themselves. They have been set free from the curse of thinking that everything they are and everything they have can be treated as their own property. For they don’t belong to themselves; they belong to Christ, and because they belong to him, they also belong to one another. And belonging to Christ and to one another is not a matter of regret; it doesn’t mean giving up life but finding life by being dispossessed” (132).
After quoting 2 Corinthians 8:9, Webster said: “Jesus’ poverty is just this: his renunciation of protective self-possession; his unreserved fellowship with those in desperate straits; his turning to them; his utter concentration on their well-being; his giving of himself even to the point of death for the sake of their survival” (133).
“We’ve come to share in the sheer, limitless abundance of God, with whom there are no half-measures but only unimaginable treasure beyond compare. And because we’re rich, then we’re set free for generosity. We’re able to act in a way that echoes the grace of Jesus Christ himself. We don’t replace that grace by something of our own; we don’t even repeat it. We echo the grace of Jesus Christ; in our generosity is heard the faint reverberation of the one majestic act of generosity, God’s own act of taking flesh, of taking up our hopeless cause, of redeeming us from poverty and darkness and death, and of sharing the treasures of his grace with us” (133).
All quotes from John Webster, “Generosity,” in Christ Our Salvation: Expositions & Proclamations, ed. Daniel Bush.