Inspiring Generosity

November 29, 2018 – March 2019

Inspiring Generosity: Stories of Faith and Grace in Art explores examples of compassion, giving, and sacrifice in subjects from the Western religious tradition. Featuring forty artworks from the Thrivent Collection of Religious Art, the book reflects on the theme of generosity expressed both through scripture and in visual art. In addition to illustrating familiar parables like The Prodigal Son and The Good Samaritan, the images also delve into more complex instances of generosity, as in the accounts of Esther and Abraham, and the sacrificial generosity of Christ’s Passion. The history and artistic background are given for each artwork, followed by a theological perspective and modern devotional insight.

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The art you'll encounter in Inspiring Generosity may stir a fresh look, may inspire you to greater generosity.

Featured Art

German Painter (Active sixteenth century)

Nativity in a Historiated Letter “R”
{Illuminated manuscript, pigment and gold on vellum, c. 1520}

Nativity in a Historiated Letter “R”
Tobias and the Angel

Nestled atop a bed of straw, a small infant lies, surrounded by adoring parents and two animals. Above, a gathering of angels sing praises over this birth. This is the infant Christ. Jesus’s placement on the ground traditionally emphasizes His humility and the poverty into which He was born. The apostle John offers a compelling take on the Nativity story, taking us to the essentials of who Jesus is to Christians; both fully God and fully human, Jesus’s birth signifies– “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). This small scene captures one of the greatest generosity stories. God’s gift of Jesus’s birth represents the beginning of a narrative which culminates in Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for the salvation of humanity.

More about The Nativity


The Prodigal Son

The Prodigal Son

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

The Nativity

The Nativity


A deeper and more expansive awareness and understanding of generosity is uniquely possible while experiencing historic and contemporary art.

Meet the book authors

Joanna Reiling Lindell

Joanna Reiling Lindell is the Director and Curator of the Thrivent Collection of Religious Art. She has written essays and organized numerous exhibitions on works on paper and religious art. In 2011 she authored Faithful Impressions.

Ed Klodt

Ed Klodt is a theologian and Manager in Thrivent’s Mission Support group. In 2006 he authored The Jonah Factor: 13 Spiritual Steps to Finding the Job of a Lifetime.

John Busacker

John Busacker is the Founder of Life-Worth, LLC, a life planning creative resource. He has authored three books; 8 Questions God Can’t Answer (2009), Fully Engaged: How to Do Less and Be More (2011), and Dare to Answer: 8 Questions That Awaken Your Faith (2015).