Generosity is defined in the dictionary as the freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character.
Meanness or smallness of mind or character often shows up in the form of greed and stinginess. When a person decides that they are going to be generous, they are stepping away from greed and stinginess into a life of joy and fulfillment.
Typically around Christmastime, people tend to get into the giving spirit. The truth is giving should not be limited to just Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries; instead it should become a lifestyle.
It is also important to understand that giving involves more than our money. It also involves our time, our talent and our resources.
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Giving is about doing everything we can to lift, bless and encourage someone else’s life.
The Apostle Paul reminds us of the words of Jesus in Acts 20:35 where he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” President Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. President said, “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
Giving is the highest level of living simply because it takes the focus off self and puts it on others. This is a challenge for many due to the fact that we live in a very self-centered society where the focus has been about our needs and wants.
In order to develop the habit of giving it is going to require a paradigm shift. A person must be willing to let go of self-centeredness and embrace the idea that life is not just about them, it is about helping others.
The Apostle Paul addressed the issue of generosity in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
As you can see, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the resources that God has blessed us with. However it is very clear in this passage of scripture that generosity is the only cure for stinginess.
Helping others enables us to maintain a good balance in our lives so that we do not become materialistic.
It is also important to realize that generosity has nothing to do with how much you have or don’t have, but rather a mentality that gives regardless of circumstances or financial status.
For instance, some of the most generous people I’ve known don’t have a lot of money, however they are generous with their time and talent. On the other hand some of the stingiest people I’ve known have a lot of money.
Here is one final thought I want to share with you: the happiest people are the most generous people. If you desire to increase your joy, then increase your giving towards others.
Marlando D. Jordan is senior pastor at Word of Faith Center in Kennewick. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.