Given the season, as we near the celebration of Jesus birth, Christmas, and gift giving, it is a good time to consider the overlap between nobility and generosity. I briefly touched on this concept in blog post in recent years (see the link below). Here I want to dig a little deeper. I will start by saying there is no deep mystery in the Hebrew, the word simply means generous or noble. The verse below in two different translations highlights the translation options.
8 But a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand. Isaiah 32:8 (NKJV)
8 But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands. Isaiah 32:8 (ESV)
Our context is found in verse 1.
1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, And princes will rule with justice. Isaiah 32:1 (NKJV)
Here Isaiah is prophesying a future time when righteousness and justice will rule in Israel. A theme in scripture is the blessing on nations and individual lives when righteousness and justice are the foundation and practice of leadership. One of the by-products of righteous leadership is people who demonstrate nobility and generosity. Thus, Isaiah highlights this as a characteristic of this future national state.
There are however a couple of givens for us as the church. Our calling is to reflect an already not yet kingdom, one where righteousness reigns. The kingdom of God. It was inaugurated on earth through Jesus’ ministry and subsequent sacrifice and resurrection. It will be fully consummated at His return. In the meantime, we have His command to go and make disciples of all nations in The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). There is debate over whether this means making disciples of nations or making disciples of people within nations. For our purposes the point is moot.
We as the church are called to walk in Jesus’ righteousness and under His leadership so it should translate into behaviour that is both noble and generous. Behaviour that seeks to honour and build others up. Behaviour that seeks to identify and draw out the gifts and callings of those around us.
Lest you think we are going to go down the financial road, that is not my intent. Being generous with our finances and blessing others is a noble thing. Yet, giving money is often easy in our culture. What is harder to give, and likely of more value in the kingdom, is our time. I am blessed to have friends that have been generous with their time, whether helping with home projects or church activities. There is something noble about their willingness to help out. I remember many years ago working on an extensive plumbing project in our home. Two of my friends came to help. The project took longer than planned, what home reno doesn’t? I gauge the length of projects by the number of trips to the hardware store. This one took quite a few!
We had worked all day and the project was not yet complete. My wife and I had tickets for an event that evening. When my friends found out they told us to leave, said they would finish the project, and lock the door. They did just that! This was a noble and generous thing to do. In projects like these there is the opportunity to deepen fellowship and connect with our fellow believers in a deeper a way that dollars would never achieve.
Our calling is to build people and we do that through engaging with them, giving of ourselves and loving one another as Jesus has called us to demonstrate. So, in this season, and throughout the year, let’s look for opportunities to build His kingdom by demonstrating nobility and generosity, engaging with Jesus in building His kingdom through investing in the lives of others in His body.
NOTE – I briefly touched on Nobility and Generosity a few years ago in my series on Reflective Leadership (http://wisdomfromtheword.ca/reflective-leadership-part-12/)