Liberality may be defined as being generous in our desire to see others prosper and bountiful, and in bestowing our possessions on others, especially on the needy. It is the opposite of miserliness and covetousness. Liberality is a quality of both the feelings and the acts. In our feelings it makes us pleased with the prosperity of others. It does not permit us to envy their prosperity, to covet their gains, to seek to gain their acquired possessions or to injure them by unfair competition. It makes us feel generous toward them, glad that they are prospering, helpful to them in increasing their prosperity and bountiful in bestowing our means on them in their needs, that is, on deserving and needy persons.
Liberality, therefore, makes us generous and benevolent in spirit and in action. From such generosity we freely give of our time, talents, strength, means, influence, etc., in order to bless and further others. It prevents our becoming misers and self-seekers. It is especially active in those who are inclined toward philanthropy and charitable giving. It is pleased to contribute toward civic improvements, benevolent institutions, on the higher things of life, like religion, education, art, science and reform and uplift movements, and on the supply of more private need. It is the main quality of the devotee of a cause, the philanthropist and the reformer. In the very nature of the case, it is one of the qualities of a truly consecrated Christian.
As in the case of every other good quality, God is the supreme example of liberality. He is very liberal in His sentiments and acts. God’s benevolence makes Him rejoice in the prosperity of others. There is no envy in Him; covetousness finds no place in His heart; He does not plot and scheme to draw to Himself the possible or actual gains of others; and unfair competition finds no expression in His acts. He is the supreme example of generosity and beneficence. God owns all things as their Creator and Preserver, and He is never weary in His giving. We see this in nature and in grace.
God’s Liberality in Nature
God manipulates the laws of nature that they may bestow blessings upon those who would use them properly; the moon and stars to give their light to guide the nighttime traveler; the sun to give light, warmth, health and strength to man and the lower animals; the seasons to bestow good upon His creatures; water to contribute to the comfort and support of His creatures; the air to support their life; the ocean currents to make various climatic changes; the oceans, lakes and rivers to facilitate men’s commercial and other needs; the soil to minister food and clothes for their bodies; the building materials of the earth to furnish man a variety of structures and homes; the metals to supply his practical and ornamental needs; the forces of nature to provide for man’s enrichment and comfort; metals, precious stones, coal, gas, petroleum, etc., for man’s enrichment, comfort and support; food from earth’s waters, prairies, forests, fields and gardens for men’s bodies; and natural scenes of beauty, grandeur and sublimity, to delight men’s artistic senses. He has filled the universe and earth with such things, beings, conditions and laws as to give men’s higher intellectual powers fruitful and pleasant occupation.
God’s Liberality in Grace
But God’s liberality shows much more clearly in His works of grace. The whole Plan of God, and its every feature displays His liberality, such as choosing to create spirit and human beings, and giving everlasting life to the worthy; God’s revelation of Himself and His Plan; His gifts to His Old Testament servants and friends, and to His Gospel Age sons and servants; the giving of Jesus as the Ransom for Father Adam and the human family; the gift of the Truth to His consecrated people; the gift of justification; the privilege of the sanctification process; the privilege of deliverance from our enemies; the gifts that God has in store for the four elect classes during the Millennial Age; God’s liberality toward the non-elect world under the curse, and toward them in the Millennial Age; His liberality toward the world post-millennially in the bestowing of the final rewards and punishments; and His liberality in the Ages of glory.