At ease Soldiers! We’re in the most exciting time of the year. Thanksgiving just wrapped up and Christmas and the New Year celebrations are around the corner. Spending time with family and giving gifts are high priorities for all of us during this exciting season. We all have much to be thankful for as we reflect on the blessings we’ve been given. As you think through how fortunate you are, I pray that you’re being influenced to be more generous. Generosity moves us in powerful ways.
What Matters About Generosity
Most people would agree that being generous is a good thing. But sadly, this positive generalization doesn’t always materialize into reality. Some people don’t know how to be generous because they haven’t been given a vision of what a generous life looks like. They can’t connect with what really matters about generosity. There are 3 key takeaways to living a generous life:
- Generosity Counteracts Materialism
- Generosity Changes Your Perspective
- Generosity Brings Joy to Others and Self
Why Generosity Matters
Generosity counteracts materialism because it takes the focus off “things” and puts it back onto “others.” When your focus is on material possessions, it shows up in how you manage your money. Chasing “things” instead of blessing people results in impulse purchasing, blown budgets, a higher propensity to use debt (e.g. credit cards), and damaged relationships. The cost of not giving generously is a life riddled with selfishness, isolation, and misery. Remember the story of Ebenezer Scrooge?
Generosity changes your perspective because there are always people who are less fortunate than you. A low-level salary in the United States would still yield a decent lifestyle in many third world countries. Step away from first world problems like what restaurant should you go to tonight, and understand that there are serious physiological (food, water, warmth, rest) and safety (security) needs that others may struggle with due to scarcity and/or political unrest.
Generosity brings joy to others as well as yourself. Have you ever seen the look on the face of a child when you give them a gift? Try giving a gift to someone in need or buying something for someone just because it’s Tuesday. You can’t help but get a warm feeling inside when a widow, orphan, or single parent is overwhelmed with gratitude for something you did. The gift is an answered prayer to the receiver, and it shows them that there are still good people on this earth. The giver also recognizes that lending a hand is more significant than many things they’ll ever do.
A Generous Call To Action
The Christmas carol says that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I challenge you to make that song a reality and bless someone. Buy someone a gift, a cup of coffee, a tank of gas, groceries, a hot meal. Looking beyond the holidays, create a line item in your budget called “gift” or “blessing” so that you can be a beacon of light to people every month. Most importantly take a posture of generosity by giving what you have to others. This isn’t just money. Give your time, talents, and focus for the greater good of mankind.
What A Generous Life Yields
A generous life is a purpose driven life. People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care. If your “why” is generous, it will resonate with people because your purpose brings hope. A generous life is an impactful life. Show me a person of impact and I’ll show you someone who’s been a bona fide lifelong giver. A generous life is a fruitful life. Here’s the dynamic thing about giving: the law of reciprocity. You reap what you sow. Goodwill comes back to those who sow into the lives of others.
How do we create a legacy of generosity? Remember the impact. Generosity fights (materialism). Generosity ignites (a change in perspective). Generosity delights (others and self). Oorah!