I have a confession to make: I’m not very generous. Most of my life I thought I was generous but really, it was my mom who was generous. She liked to buy nice things for me and everyone I knew so, in some weird way, it felt like I was generous.
That would be less ironic if I didn’t work at Generous Giving. I remember during my first week as the new VP of Communications, I read through one of the brochures and John 3:16 jumped right off the page. “For God so loved He gave.” What? Why had I never seen the word “gave” in there before?
Clearly, Jesus was a giver. And as believers we know our lives should be modeled after Jesus. So what do you do when in your heart you know you are not generous, but your head says you need to be generous? Practice. You read that right: Practice.
Seeing what God says about giving and generosity in Scripture compelled me to begin practicing generosity. I did this in big and small ways. In small ways I would just try to increase a gift by 2-5 per cent. In big ways, when an opportunity to give came up that I would normally pass on, I would pray and ask God what I should do. The size of the gift wasn’t the big thing; it was the act of asking God to show me what to do. One time I remember the inside prompt to give a $200 gift when I normally wouldn’t have done anything. I actually argued with myself internally until I finally told the committee in my head to be quiet because we were going to give the $200.
I left that event and regretted being obedient.
I left that event and regretted being obedient. I didn’t feel much joy and thought about the fun jeans I could have bought with the money I’d just given. Arriving at home I grabbed the mail and opened a letter that seemed official. It was a check for $212—a refund I had completely forgotten about from six months before.
It was as if God were saying, “Trust Me. I’m good and I’m generous. Your generosity is My generosity. You can’t out give Me.” I was suddenly filled with joy. I had listened to God and He had been faithful to provide. My first thought wasn’t the jeans, it was, How can I give this money away again? This ungenerous girl began to see why giving brings joy. It’s because it connects us to the heart of God. What is better than that?
I wish I could count generosity as a strength, but it is still a practice for me. But the practice is so much more fun knowing that it connects me to the heart of God. I have yet to give a gift that God hasn’t outgiven me. Practice really does make perfect when it’s God’s idea.
On a scale of 1-10, how generous are you? How do you know? Is your standard of generosity from Scripture or from comparing yourself to others? How could you practice generosity?