We are on part seven of the series, “Love as a Way of Life” from the book by Gary Chapman. So far we have covered: Love as a way of life, Kindness, Patience, Forgiveness, Courtesy, Humility and now for Generosity.
So here we are. Part 7, loving others through generosity. Funny thing is that I don’t think that you can be truly be generous without incorporating Kindness, Patience, Forgiveness, Courtesy, or Humility into one’s daily life.
Generosity: Giving Yourself to Other for the Benefit of Others.
Every characteristic of love so far has focused more on benefiting those in need:
- KINDNESS: The joy of meeting someone else’s needs before your own for the sake of the relationship.
- PATIENCE: Accepting the Imperfections of others
- FORGIVENESS: Using honesty, compassion, and self-awareness to reconcile with someone who has hurt you.
- COURTESY: The act of treating everyone as a personal friend
- HUMILITY: Stepping down so someone else can step up
Now that we are in the season of gifts and giving we are going to hear more and more about gratuitous generosity. Many times we think of it as an action rather than a lifestyle and attitude. For example, a few Christmas’s ago I was at the local UPS store mailing off presents. I over heard a customer attempting to mail her packages but did not have enough money to do so. A line was building on both sides and it was becoming more awkward by the moment. I finally asked how much it was and paid it for her. A few people let me know that they thought it was very nice and gracious of me to do that. Funny thing is that I felt a little uneasy about it. I questioned my attitude behind my actions. Here were some questions I had for myself.
- Did I only pay because I was a little annoyed or because she really needed the the packages shipped?
- Did she really have the money or was she trying to give some good cheer to members of her family that were maybe worse off than she?
I came to the conclusion that I would never know the truth and since I had the money available then why not give it. How many times did I buy something expensive at the store just because I “needed” it and then once purchased it was suddenly worthless to me? The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what reason the lady had for not putting up the money to send the presents through UPS. Presents were bought for the benefit of others and unless something happened they weren’t going to get there. So I did something about it.
Generosity is the attitude that says, “I’m going to do something about it”. John Chow of www.johnchow.com did something about feeding the hungry in his community. He did so by rallying his readers from his blog to make donations to the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver. He ignited the fire when he promised to match the readers’ donations. Total money raised $6,132.48 which translates into helping 2300 people.
I wrote earlier that you can’t have generosity without the other characteristics of love because without them what would you be generous with?
- Generosity is accepting our own faults and treating others with empathetic kindness (even when it’s their fault).
- Generosity is recognizing that there are those who need time so we offer them patience although it may cause us a few mins. of our time.
- Generosity forgives because relationships were meant to thrive and as such there must be an attempt at reconciliation when someone has been wronged. Someone has to take the first step. Why not you?
- Generosity acknowledges that people have value and as such you treat them as you would a beloved friend.
- Generosity knows that people sometimes need a helping hand so if that means that one must lower himself for the benefit of another then that must be done.
Generosity is more than giving the big bucks but providing giving what people need. Maybe it’s taking time to talk to someone who is lonely from a lost loved one. Maybe it’s being a chauffeur to someone who doesn’t have a car and needs transportation for the day. Generosity is an attitude that people have value and that under certian circumstances I too may have been in the same situation. What can you do to be apply generosity with your friends, family and even strangers?