One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
- Proverbs 11:24-25
Generosity is not something that comes naturally to us. I recall a time when Corinne was a little less than two years old and Ashley was almost four. Ashley had a favorite lovey – a Lion King slipper, Simba, to be precise. She liked to rub her nose with the fur tail and I suppose it tickled. Ashley was required to leave her slipper in her bed because if it was lost somewhere in the house a search party would have to be called out at bedtime. We had already lost the mate to the Simba slipper even though Ashley never actually wore them. One day, Corinne managed to get into Ashley’s bed and take the slipper. She was sitting on the floor of Ashley’s room rubbing her nose with the tail of Ashley’s beloved Simba slipper just as she had seen her sister do hundreds of times. When Ashley found Corinne with her special Simba, the cat-fight ensued over the slipper. By the time I entered the room, tears were streaming and tempers were rising as Ashley attempted to get the slipper away from Corinne while Corinne evaded her all the while shouting, “Mine!” If you have ever been around toddlers, I am sure you have witnessed a similar scene.
The interesting thing about the above scenario is that the slipper was not Corinne’s even though she staked claim to it. Ashley had the opportunity to be generous by allowing Corinne to enjoy her slipper for just a few minutes after which, I am sure Corinne would have lost interest and moved on to something else abandoning the slipper in her pursuit. Since Ashley was staking claim on the slipper, Corinne chose to cling to it all the more tightly. I find that intriguing because it tends to parallel our behavior relating to our resources and time. We stake claim to them even though they are gifts from God that He desires us to use generously. When someone is in need of our time or resources, we tend to cling to them a little more tightly perhaps questioning, “Do they really need that?”.
We are taught to be generous first by simply learning to share. Then as we get older, sharing expands to generosity as we are taught to give all of something away – like the last chocolate chip cookie. Some of us get stuck at the sharing level (I'll split it with you) and we continue having a hard time being truly generous (you can have it all).
Generosity is an area I am continuing to grow in. I see that God wants me to grow in this area by the people he has placed in my life right now and through the situations I am in. We need help right now and a lot of it! God has put people in our lives who are joyful and generous givers of their time and resources. I am so thankful for their example of generosity. I am learning to be a more generous giver thanks to them. I pray that someday when my time is more my own to give away and when I have more financial resources, I will remember how it felt to be the recipient of such generous giving so I will be inclined not to cling to my possessions and shout, “Mine!” but to quietly relinquish them knowing the joy they will bring someone else.
Watch for my next blog posting when I will give you the opportunity to be generous! Think , “Walk to Defeat ALS”.