By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5: 22, 23
The fruit of generosity, or goodness, is next on our list of Fruits of the Spirit. Like the fruit of kindness this one sounds obvious in relation to crafting as well.
According to Dr. George Lyons*, “generosity”, or “goodness”, is essentially the same thing as kindness. It “describes loving actions that contribute to the well-being, building-up and salvation of others,” he writes. And like the other fruits, generosity/goodness can only be given by God. “Jesus claims that goodness fully applies only to God (Matt 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19),” Lyons says; therefore, God is the only one who can enable us to be good.
God’s goodness expresses divine love and when we act in goodness – when we build others up, promote their well-being and contribute to their salvation – we are enacting the goodness of God. Can a non-believer also act in goodness? I believe so. There are plenty of people who do good things but, as James says, everything that is good comes from the Father (James 1:17). God can act through anyone; we just need to remember that our acts of goodness, or generosity, are not what saves us (Ephesians 2: 8, 9).
How does crafting fit into all of this? We can certainly be generous with what we make. It is said, in fact, that crafters are some of the most generous people out there. I believe that where the fruit of goodness, or generosity, fits in is when we are in tune with the Spirit through prayer. The simple question, “What shall I make, Lord Jesus?” and obedience can lead to the perfect item for the person you want to bless.
I came across a story in Acts 9 that demonstrates this. Tabitha, or Dorcas, was very generous with her sewing skills. The targets of her generosity were the widows that she knew. In those days, widows had it very difficult because they lived in a society where they were largely uneducated and, therefore, completely dependent on the men in their lives. In that society, widows did not have their basic needs met unless someone helped them. Dorcas, who the Bible says was “devoted to good works and acts of charity” met a great need by hand sewing clothing (can you imagine?) for these women. Unfortunately, Dorcas became ill and died. The women were so distraught that the church sent for the Apostle Peter right away.
Upon his arrival, the women showed Peter everything that Dorcas had made for them. Peter then sent them from the room where Dorcas’ body was, prayed, and then told the dead woman to get up. And she did! God had showed his goodness and love to these widows through Peter and had restored Dorcas to them. We assume that Dorcas carried out her mission of sewing until the next time she died.
As crafters and artists, we too can bless others with what we make or do for as long as we live. We can show God’s love and mercy through the skills with which God has blessed us whether it’s through some kind of craft or art, through cooking and baking, by playing a musical instrument or writing encouraging notes. The best way to accomplish this is to ask God what to do and then do it.
*The New Beacon Bible Commentary on Galatians, page 352.
**Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Stained glass window at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, depicting the Fruit of the Holy Spirit along with role models representing them, i.e. the Good Shepherd representing love, an angel holding a scroll ofGloria in excelsis Deo representing joy and Jesus Christ,Job representing longsuffering, Jonathan faith, Ruth gentleness and goodness, Moses meekness, and John the Baptist temperance. Executed byHardman & Co. in the 1870s.