Did you complete your financial giving and your volunteering for this year? Are you feeling the joyous pleasure of giving that is aligned with your purpose and passion? Or are you careening into the beginning of the year frustrated and unsure of whether your giving is enough?
As we approach a new year, we have a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the year past and anticipate the year to come. What would it feel like to turn the calendar into the new year with a settled sense of completion and anticipation, wondering what generosity adventures God has in store?
Perhaps the answer lies in examining my capacity for generosity. “Capacity?” you might ask. “I feel maxed out. I don’t think looking at capacity will help me. It sounds like ‘more, more’”.
A paradigm shift on “generosity capacity” might be in order!
Capacity to Give, Capacity to Receive
The dictionary definition of capacity is “the maximum amount that something can contain.” At first glance, you might think, “Generosity is an act of releasing; it’s not something that I hold.” However, the definition is richer than you might think.
2 Corinthians 9:11 in JB Phillips New Testament says: “The more you are enriched by God, the more scope there will be for generous giving, and your gifts, administered through us, will mean that many will thank God.”
Perhaps my capacity for generosity directly correlates with my capacity to receive from God. As Women Doing Well has studied the lives of generous women, we’ve noted this cycle of generosity:
When the cycle begins in the lower left side by Sharing with Others first, I will feel spent and depleted. When the cycle begins with receiving from God, I become a wellspring overflowing with purpose-filled, joyful, and obedient generosity of my time and money.
The women givers identified as Women Giving Well in our research study reflected this mindset and approach. Consider the difference in their reported giving and the giving of the total group of 7,300 women. When asked about financial giving, 87% of these Women Giving Well reported giving money to their maximum capacity while only 21% of the total women surveyed gave to their maximum capacity. Considering gifts of time, 95% Women Giving Well reported volunteering to their maximum capacity compared to 25% in the overall survey.
Expand Your Capacity in 2016
So how do I grow my capacity for generosity? By growing my capacity to receive from God! Here are three questions to consider as you evaluate the coming year.
1. Have I taken the time to “count my blessings”? (A gratitude journal is a wonderful way to start. Challenge yourself to write at least three things you are grateful for every day for thirty days.)
2. Have I taken inventory of what God has entrusted to me?
3. Have I asked Him what He would have me do with it in the coming year?
Answering these three simple questions may shift your giving from duty to joy as you anticipate this adventure with God in 2016 so that you may say as Jesus did, “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).