The 3rd of the nine ingredients in Henry Drummond’s, Spectrum of Love, is generosity.
We know that giving is important, but real generosity with an attitude of love is hard to come by. A truly generous act is one that is done without expecting something in return. It’s given for FREE. Rather than saying, “He gave generously,” we could say, “He gave freely.” Of course we might be paid back in future blessings and it might make us feel good, but that’s not the reason to give. We want to give with our heart in the right place. By making our giving a free act of love and worship we can begin to focus on God and others more than on ourselves.
This is an area where I have lots to learn. I admit that I have actually avoided volunteer organizations and some church groups that seem to constantly present opportunities for me to give my time and money. I might say “Yes” because I feel obligated, but if I say “No” I feel guilty and selfish. It just brings out all kinds of negative feelings, but that’s not what it’s all about.
I’m thinking of a couple of people I know that I would say are generous, and one thing that is similar is how generous they are with their smiles. Their interest and focus is on others. They have a caring spirit and a genuine interest in me and those around them. They aren’t saying “Yes” to every giving opportunity. But they have a continual attitude of giving and service. It’s more of a core quality of a generous person to care and be generous in everything they do. I am learning to see how having the right mindset means that I am in a continual state of generosity.
Mother Teresa said, “It is not how much you give, but how much love you put in giving.” That seems to sum up the idea of how love and generosity go together. Generosity without love is weak, but together they are so strong.
So, whether I’m volunteering and raising funds for a big non-profit project, sitting with a friend who is hurting, serving a cheeseburger and fries, washing dishes, or taking out the trash, I believe it can all be done with love and a generous heart.
I am striving to make the following heart-check thoughts true for me:
- Developing a heart of love and generosity is important to me.
- My generosity starts with freely giving smiles and attention to those around me.
- My giving is focused on my love for God and those I am giving to.
- I feel joy and freedom when giving generously to help others.
Following is a suggested prayer of asking for the right kind of generous heart . . .
Dear Jesus, thank you for your generosity toward me. You have sacrificed and given me more than I can imagine. Please raise my awareness of opportunities to give freely of my time, attention, talents and money. Help me to share with an attitude that reflects your love. Thank you for listening to me and guiding me throughout each day. In your name, Amen.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. Can you share the quality of a generous person you have met? What is another “heart-check” thought that helps clarify what loving generosity is all about?