What If We Were Truly Generous?
“Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving kindness.” –Dali Lama
When one hears the word “generosity,” one probably thinks of donating to an organization, tipping well, or tithing. While it is true that how you spend your money is a direct reflection of where your heart lies, giving through your finances is only one avenue of generosity. Though important, dollar bills are only as good or evil as the people who use it. People are so much more complex than pieces of paper. The same is true as is for money; people are only as good or evil as the one who or what is in control of them.
Jesus came to give us a better life that we can have through His generosity. He paid for people with blood, not money. If we want to be more like Jesus, we need to show generosity through more than just our finances. Jesus served the people around Him; He was generous with his patience, and generous with His love.
He was generous with His patience, and generous with His love.
“Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.” Proverbs 25:15
It’s Monday morning and you’ve slept through your alarm. The cat knocked your phone off the charger so now you’re off to work with a 3% charged battery and you’re almost out of gas. The radio is spewing on about celebrity divorces while you search high and low for a parking space. Now that you’re actually in work, your phone dies and your socks are two different colors. On days like these, it’s too easy to blow your top at the first person to come your way.
Being generous through your patience is all about being thoughtful through your bad days. On days like those it’s natural to lets emotions take over and act through impulses instead of thinking about how your actions portray you and the God you serve. Remember, Jesus came, not to make life easier, but to make it better. Jesus had patience with those who doubted Him, who didn’t understand him, who didn’t like him, and even the people who killed him. Patience in the face of death is something to keep in mind on the bad days.
Another way to be generous to others is through our love. “God so loved the world that he gave his son” John 3:16. One of the most famous verses in the bible is proof of how important showing love is. To put “the world” in perspective for this verse is what the world looks like to God. Something created by Him, who is fickle in their love for him, turns their back to him, who destroys themselves, and blatantly disobeys the guidelines set to protect them. God saw this and was filled with such love for them that he sent his perfect, only son to heal them, knowing that some would still never come home. That is the kind of unconditional love John 3:16 talks about and one that is hard to understand. Knowing this won’t make it easy to love those who hurt you, but it may make it easier. Love goes hand in hand with forgiveness. To love like Jesus is to be forgiving. Even if it’s just showing forgiveness of someone getting your order wrong at Cracker Barrel, that will make you become more like Christ.
Generosity isn’t something that is inherently natural to us. It comes with being thoughtful about how money, patience, and love can change the community around us and show them Jesus. Though showing generosity may be trying at times, it is what ultimately makes us more like Christ.