Lately I have been bombarded with messages about living a generous life. I mean bombarded in a good way. I have learned that generosity means so much more than just giving money. I haven’t always thought that way though. There is even a sales/business tie in.
The current series being taught at our church is titled Project Generosity. Our lead pastor, Denny Henderson, is going much deeper than giving money, it’s a way of life, and what we do with our lives. One of the podcast I listen too every week is Your Move with Andy Stanley, which is a rebroadcast of his weekly teaching. The current series is “Be Rich”, which is of course a series on generosity.
Those as well as several other recent messages on generosity I have encountered recently, have me thinking about generosity. I tend to go along in life and miss some messages or signs, it’s just how I’m wired. So, when the message is obvious and repetitive, I have to stop and ask God: “What’s Up? What do I need to learn or understand here.
I think the message is that we need to take joy in our generosity. To count it as reward in our lives. The reward is the peace and joy we receive when we share our lives in love, kindness, wisdom, and physically caring for others.
Here’s what motivated this post. Our church has committed to providing for all of the Angel Tree Christmas gift needs for the Texoma area. The members sign up to buy gifts for children in need. So, of course we (by we, I mean my wife) signed up to provide for a family. Becca commented that she wished we could help another family (BTW, the church members have all of the Angel Tree families covered), but she wasn’t sure if we could afford to. What happened next is where the amazing joy comes, for me anyway. My sons, both teenagers, suggested that we take the money budgeted for their Christmas gifts, and use it to provide for a family in need. They both said that they don’t really need anything, and that they would rather help someone who was in need. Wow, that is where my joy and reward is. Knowing now that they do get it. They do listen to us, and pay attention to their parents example. I’m still flying high by this demonstration of generosity.
Living a life more generously has changed me. I wasn’t always generous. And, I still have a long way to go. It’s ok if you’re not a follower of Christ, this still applies, no matter what you believe. By setting up a system of systematic generosity, you can’t help but be more productive in life. It changes your heart, your thoughts, and your world view. generosity protects us from selfishness and self centeredness Learning to be content has brought amazing peace to my life.
By systematic generosity, I mean we have a plan for giving. Set a giving goal and achieve it. Start simple, like always hold the door for others, or see how many people you can cheer up with a smile. Give financially too, with a predetermined percentage of your income. You don’t have to give to a church if you are not a person of faith. So many legitimate charities need our help.
Here’s the sales/business tie in. Several years ago Becca and I made the decision that we need to give regularly with a percentage off the top of our income, and not from our left overs. At first it was a small percentage of our take home pay. Then we grew the percentage. Then we realized we had to change the way we looked at money, because we felt we could give more. So we got out of debt. Thank you Dave Ramsey. We sold our new cars and bought a good used car with cash. We sold our dream house, and the big mortgage that went with it.
I started to approach my career differently once out of debt, and learning to give and serve more. I know longer had financial pressure to make the sale. I began looking for more ways to serve my clients. Offering to help in ways that most in my line of work won’t. Giving time and energy without expecting a return. I notice that my pay was increasing too, I doubled my income in one year. I also developed a fiercely loyal customer base. I don’t live generously to make more sales, I make more sales because I live more generously. Or, at least I am beginning and learning to live generously.
I have learned that people want to do business with happy and content people. Worried and desperate is not that attractive. Generosity breeds contentment, and contentment breeds peace.
What joys have you experienced by living generously?