A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Photo by Bryn Wied
Generosity is so counter-culture these days that its effects are life changing when you experience the authenticity of it in its truest form. How many people do you know that are defined by being kind? Or selfless? Or giving?...and not the kind of kind, or selfless, or giving that gives way to obvious campaigns seeking for return on investment in those areas. Generosity in its truest form encourages, edifies, and lifts people up. It generates gratitude, selflessness, and inspiration that challenges and changes both the giver and the receiver alike. It changes the inner most being, and gives way to a new appreciation and perception of life and people, and relationships. It takes the focus off what is lacking and instead amplifies the gratitude for the things we do have.
I would like to convince myself that I am a fairly generous person. The things I do in public tend to add to my reputation, and I often see myself involved in many public acts of “generosity”. These things aid to feedback that make me feel like “such a great person” and “such a great giver”.
However, generosity is the opposite of self-preservation. Generosity is the opposite of pride. Generosity is the opposite of selfishness, and it is so easy to become calloused and ingrained with a false pretense of generosity in exchange for some self-worth. Don’t get me wrong, generosity does produce this self-worth as a byproduct, but I’ve also experienced first-hand where generosity gets cheapened by borrowing credit from the act and giving all praise to one party. This cheats the reciprocated person from experiencing the two sided benefits of giving and receiving.
Generosity in its purest, simplest form is a beautiful thing that strips both parties of pride, evokes gratitude, and encourages people to think about others in a way never thought possible.
In a culture where everything seems to be tainted with a me first mentality, we grasp for the resources we’ve “earned” or been given, and we think first and last about taking care of ourselves; only in-between those two thoughts are a brief side-tracked thinking of others. I’ve experienced it personally, and subconsciously struggle through that process in making daily decisions. Do I demonstrate generosity and graciousness, or do I ruin it with a me-first attitude?
Throughout this foster care experience, my wife and I have had the opportunity to experience the receiving end of generosity like we have not experienced in a very long time. To this day, two months into this ride, we have not had to buy one item of clothing, a single diaper, or a package of diaper wipes; our shelves are literally overflowing! We’ve had people from church put together a food train to bring us meals, people organize and gather up clothing and physical item donations such as bottles, and toys, and bouncers, and so many other donations. We received an anonymous cash donation from someone, and experienced so many acts of genuine kindness.
Each of these generous gifts resulted in a momentary ceasing of the frenzy to gather up supplies, resources, and monetary funds, and instead caused us to reflect on how blessed we are, and how much God’s got us covered.
It spurred us to want to do the same for others. It caused us to want to live a lifestyle of generosity. This is what I want to be known for. Not only by other people, but by myself as well.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.