Generosity is Hard

I have been chewing on the word Generous these days. Sometimes what I taste is really sweet and sometimes it feels like I licked a battery. Being generous is hard. Some people reading this will say… “It sure is!” and others will say… “Not really.” Let’s take a small journey to the same place on our journey to generosity by traveling the roads of definition and clarity?

Definition – Generosity is living your life for the benefit of others.

Clarity – Whole life generosity is what I am referring to. Time, talent, treasure, emotion, love, care, forgiveness, an open ear and closed mouth… Generous with the good news about Christ and generous with the kindness that draws us to repent and turn to God.

Now let me say it again… Being generous is hard.

What makes a person generous? This is the question I keep asking myself. What turns someone from a selectively generous/selectively greedy person into one whose operating system is generosity? How does one go from being guarded with that which was meant to be given away to open hearted and handed? This is the question I am trying to figure out for myself. I have come up with three (I am still a preacher) thoughts.

First, generosity is something that happens when people realize God meant it when he said… “Freely Give.” Simply put, to be obedient is to be generous and to not be generous is to not be obedient to God. God never intended me to hoard anything.

Second, generosity flows from people who are grateful. Entitlement has destroyed generosity these days. “Mine” holds a tight grip over our lives. Money, time, energy, love, life… all get locked up in the cell that is “Mine.” Fear we will not get our due, what we deserve, what we need and what we want drive generosity underground. Confusion over need and want, because greed has fused them so tightly in our hearts we are not sure how to separate them, holds generosity at bay. Gratitude is the only way to destroy the grip of entitlement.

Third, higher purpose drives us to generosity. People, whose life purpose is not greater than pleasing them self, never live generously. These people will always hold tighter to what cannot last and they fail to invest generously in what cannot fade. When they do give, it is often to augment, adjust, appease or fix how they feel about not being generous in other places. Purpose happens when we realize there is something bigger than we are. When we understand that we are the vehicle for the generosity of God, purpose comes alive in us.

I am not going to put this in a “so here is what you do now” forum for us. My hope is that we wrestle with generosity until we lose. Until next time, Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on March 18, 2010.

One Response to “Generosity is Hard”

  1. You are right. Generosity is hard. I have struggled with it a lot in the past year. Sometimes it seems that there is an invisible limit that I don’t want to go past. I am like the disciples who thought they were generous in forgiving people seven times. But Christ says 70 times 7 – in other words – STOP COUNTING!! So too with being generous with time, emotions, money, etc – I need to stop counting and just be like Jesus.

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