Thoughts on Generosity
October 1, 2018
The second of our four values for the year ahead is generosity. It is a word that reminds us both of the nature of God and of life as God imagines and desires it for our world. The Bible is clear that generosity is a part of God’s identity and that we demonstrate God’s presence in the world when we live in a generous fashion. Numerous stories about generosity are found in the Bible, from the story of creation to the story of final redemption, so that even a quick survey of the Bible makes it clear that generosity is a Biblical virtue and something that we will desire for ourselves.
Yet we also acknowledge that generosity must be offered within the context of lives where there are limits and where we must sometimes make hard choices about the way we will use our resources. As much as we want to share our blessings with others, we must often learn to set priorities so as to support the things that matter the most to us. Generosity exists in tension with our desire to be good stewards of all that we have received and also to care for the people for whom we have primary responsibility.
So we may well have questions about what it means to be generous in the real world where we live. That is why it is helpful to remember the many ways we can be generous in the world. Certainly those ways include the sharing of our material resources but a key lesson for all of us is that we can be generous even if we are not rich. It was Mother Theresa who said, “If you cannot feed 100 hungry people, feed one who is hungry.” We can not save the world but we can be generous in our small part of it. And that can make a significant difference.
And there are likewise many ways we can be generous without spending a dime. We can be generous in our love, generous in our time, generous with our forgiveness, and generous in our listening. Generosity can be offered in a thousand different ways and all of them have the potential to be transformative. So consider ways you can be generous within the framework of your life. Imagine ways in which you might impact someone’s life with no expectation of reward. In many ways that is the definition of generosity and I dare say there are many around us who desperately need such generosity in their lives today. So...do what you can....where you are...with what you have....and that will be quite enough.
In Christ’s Service,