Have you ever been the beneficiary of generosity? I have.
People respond differently to an act of generosity. Some graciously accept; others are hesitant, feeling that which is bestowed on them obligates them for future payback.
It’s not always easy to be generous. In fact, we live in a “me first” society that screams “get all you can,” then, hold on with tight fists. Fear of the future is the main deterrent to generosity.
Here are some ways to begin to cultivate a generous spirit:
Remember the Source
Many times, people feel they’ve earned what they’ve gotten by working hard. It’s easy to think we’ve done it ourselves when what we’ve accomplished is really the blessing of God, who is the giver of all gifts.
Perhaps we think we’ll be left without if we generously give to others. This shows a lack of faith and a hint of fear, believing that God will not continue to provide for us. But, if we’re giving with the right motivation, our generosity will be rewarded. In my experience, you can never out-give God.
Sometimes, what looks like generosity is just a selfish way of gaining attention, name recognition, or getting a tax break. “Self” gets in the way a lot, especially when giving is involved.
Remembering God is our source helps to keep perspective and aids forward motion.
Another way to learn about generosity is to watch those who are generous. I’ve observed many people for whom generosity is a lifestyle, not just a once-in-a-while thing. They have practiced generosity so often it happens without being intentional. You can learn a lot about generosity by quiet observation.
When we are generous, we often receive more than we give. Perhaps you start out to benefit another, but discover the joy you gain is greater than the gift you give.
Scripture tells us that those who are generous will be blessed with prosperity, be refreshed, and life will go well for them.
Like many things, being generous may take some practice. Any time you start doing something you haven’t done much before, it takes while to cultivate the practice.
Start small and work up. Generosity doesn’t always have to be money related. You can be generous with your time and talents as well. It might involve helping a neighbor with yard work or shopping. Or volunteering your time to help young children read or play an instrument. In a way, giving your time and talents involves more of a generous spirit than giving financially.
Look for Opportunities
Keep your eyes and ears tuned to what’s going on around you. It won’t be long before God provides you with opportunities to be generous. Your job is to respond.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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