Every religion seeks to answer the question, “Why are we here?” Unfortunately, some Christians have unknowingly accepted a pagan vision of life that masquerades as a Christian one, and the result is a false understanding of our purpose, and this leads to a warped vision of generosity as well. So, let’s begin to set things right with a simple but essential biblical truth—God does not need you.
Almost every ancient creation myth says that humans were created to serve the gods. We were needed to build the gods’ temples, to provide food to the gods through our sacrifices and to appease the gods’ anger with our prayers and worship. Pagan mythologies said our purpose was to be the gods’ slaves.
This pagan vision of life is turned upside down by what God reveals about Himself in the Bible. Unlike the gods of Babylon, Egypt or Rome, the God of Israel did not need to be fed, clothed or housed by people. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,” He said, “for the world and its fullness are mine” (Psalm 50:12). And the Bible is clear that God does not live in a temple built by people but has made the whole universe His dwelling place (see Isaiah 66:1). In other words, Israel’s God did not need people. He does not need your service, offerings or your generosity.
That explains why the story of creation in Genesis, unlike pagan creation stories, does not depict humans as God’s servants but as His representatives. He made the man and woman in His image and gave them dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28-29). That means people were made to rule the earth with God—in relationship with Him and under His authority. And we were created to rule the earth like God—in a manner that reflected His own character and generosity.
If we are to begin the journey toward Whole-Life Generosity, we must abandon the myth that God needs our service or gifts. The consistent message of Scripture is that God does not need you, and any god that requires human help or gifts is not a god worthy of our worship. Instead, the Bible says God wants you. He desires to live with you, and through you to reveal His goodness to the world.
Reflect: How have you thought about generosity in the past? What has your view of generosity assumed about your relationship with God?