This past week, I have been absolutely blown away with the generosity around me. My husband and I have been blessed with many invites to enjoy meals with friends, we’ve received unexpected gifts, we’ve received food parcels and hampers and we’ve had many people express their gratitude and lavished encouragement on us. A particularly kind friend even put a little bit of money in our bank account to help pay for some much-needed medication. Blown away, I tell you, absolutely, incredibly thankful and amazed. And, it’s not even Christmas yet!
This, my friends, is generosity in its purest form. You see, this year, we are experiencing a lean season as we learn to live on one income as opposed to two, full-time wages. We had kind of resigned ourselves to the fact that it was probably going to be a tight Christmas and we had braced the children to be prepared for no gifts this year. But, it’s the 12th of December and I have never felt so blessed and spoilt as I have this Christmas season.
You see, to be generous doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have heaps of money and give lots of gift. Though, that is the most common way that most of us view generosity. No, I have discovered that being generous is so much more than that. It’s about having a giving spirit. You see generosity means “showing a readiness to give more of something, than is strictly necessary or expected; larger or more plentiful than is usual or necessary; liberal in giving or sharing; willingness to give money, help, kindness, especially more than is usual or expected”.
This year, we (my children, my husband and I) are going to be generous with our time, our kindness and with whatever we have to give. Our lack is not going to hinder our generosity. I am determined to make wonderful memories and spending quality time with my children, doing lots of fun Christmas activities despite the lack of money. I’m going to teach my children that it doesn’t need to take money and ‘stuff’ to be generous, it simply takes a willing heart and giving hands.
We have already and will continue to open our house and have friends (& perhaps even some strangers) over to visit; we will share tea, meals and anything on our table with them; we will make cards, write letters and send kindness and encouragement to people we love and others we don’t know and have never met; we will bake Christmas biscuits and sweets and give them to our friends, family and anyone we want to bless; we will smile and sing and shine Jesus to everyone we come into contact with; we will attend all the events and commitments that we have been asked to attend; we will be grateful and thankful for everything that we are given. We will simply be generous with our time, our encouragement and with whatever is in our possession to bless others with. That’s real generosity.
The Bible has a lot to say about generosity. It tells us that when we are being generous, we will in turn be blessed (see Proverbs 11:25; Psalm 112:5). God loves it when our hearts are willing and our hands are giving (see 2 Corinthians 9:7), so much so that He – our Lord and Saviour – pours out his generosity and abundance on us (see Luke 6:38).
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
God himself, set the most incredible example of generosity there could possibly be. By sending His son, Jesus to the world, to live among us in human flesh, to show us how to live and move and have our being. Then to have him die on our behalf, to take away our sins. To rise again, crushing death so that we may live in freedom to eternity. How selfless is He? How undeserving are we? How incredibly generous is our God?!?!
God also sent us Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. He has given us gifts, talents, abilities. He heals, provides and guides. He lavishes his grace, wisdom and love upon us. His Living Word is a constant help and source of strength and courage. Through the power of prayer, we have an open channel of communication to the Creator of the World. Really, what more of an example of generosity could we possibly need? He is the ultimate gift giver!
So, this Christmas season, I challenge you to be generous. I mean, you already are, but I challenge you to be intentional with your generosity. To give the gift of your best self to others. To smile when you don’t feel like it; to be pleasant when you are frustrated; to be thoughtful and patient when the busy-ness is overwhelming; to stop and take time to care; to offer encouragement when you really feel like swearing; to take a moment to have that coffee with a lonely friend; to open your home and welcome those who just simply need someone to talk to; to provide that meal, or cake or biscuit; to write that card or letter; to be present and attend those functions and events that you really can’t be bothered with but that would really bless the ones that invited you; to give that gift with a willing heart; to offer a helping hand to someone else that is struggling.
There are always so many opportunities to be generous. We are all surrounded by people in need. I think that when you take a moment to look, you will find so many needs that could be met simply by you. So, open your eyes and look with a giving spirit, willing hands, a heart full of thankfulness and go and be generous! Cos lovely one, you already are. So just keep on being you and with intention, let your generosity shine. You are generous!