Generosity is impossible apart from our love of God and of His people. But with such love, generosity not only is possible but inevitable.
~ John MacArthur
As parents, we want good things for our children, and the best things for those we love are the things we put inside their hearts. It seems many of us have our calculators out, literally and figuratively, trying to pay and give only the very minimum. This way of living does not seem to be a free and abundant lifestyle that can change hearts and open possibilities.
Instead, I have found of late, a great desire to give more in all things. Not just being generous, but rather striving for extravagant generosity – the kind that might pour expensive perfume on the feet of a loved one. I cannot look only to what is due a person, but feel I want to give more than is needed. More to my kids, more to my husband, my parents, and my friends. I want to give more to my church, my job, my waiter, a stranger. For to only give what is required seems dutiful, and does not seem like giving at all.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
Perhaps finances are tight, and there isn’t enough money to pay the bills that are for the most basic necessities…be generous anyway. I’m not suggesting only financial generosity, for there are many ways one can be generous.
- Be generous with time. Spend time listening when someone has a problem, on the phone, at the grocery store, in the parking lot after work. Give them your ear, be there for them, let them feel the relief of unburdening their heart.
- Be generous when driving. Let everyone in. Leave early, make driving less stressful for the next guy. Take someone’s turn in the carpool, just to bless them.
- Be generous with your money. What is the appropriate tip? Now add a couple more dollars. Buy the person’s coffee behind you in the drive-thru. Give some money to the homeless person on the corner.
- Be generous with gifts. Buy your friend that coat she’s been wanting, for no reason. Pick up a bouquet of flowers for your mom or daughter. Tuck a gift card for a sub in your husband’s wallet. Pay for lunch. Pay for dinner.
- Be generous with your words. Use every opportunity to give a genuine compliment. Tell those around you that you love them. Tell them they are doing an amazing job. And tell the man pumping your gas how much you appreciate him standing out in the cold; and the receptionist at the doctor’s office, tell her you appreciate her kindness.
When we lead by example, what will our children pick up?
Will we be blessed if we employ this lifestyle? Absolutely. But maybe not in the expected ways, for the blessings are generous and overflowing and often too many to describe. But a small sample:
- When we are generous in some way with a person, it makes that person feel valued. It might be the only loving action they have received all day, all week, all month. Their outlook is brighter, the world seems kinder, their load is lightened.
- When we are generous, it breeds an attitude of thankfulness. “Look how much God has given me. So very much for myself and so very much to share.”
- God loves a cheerful giver. Not because He wants our money, but because we are never more like Him then when we are giving. And when we are a willing vessel, he can give more through us.
- When we begin to practice generosity, it becomes a habit, and then it becomes a lifestyle. We will desire to give more time, more service, more hospitality, and more thanksgiving. It feels amazing to give, and to bless others, and know God is working through us. We will want more of it. Our God is a generous God, and he will allow more.
Giving is true having. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon