When you hear the word “generosity” what comes to your mind? Do you think of it in terms of making a gift or a donation? Do you equate generosity with a sum of money? Do you see it as something that “rich” people should do in order to meet the needs of “poor” people? Generosity is very often mistaken as giving. The truth is that while giving can be a part of generosity, giving in and of itself can be done with the wrong motives, without love, or begrudgingly. Generosity, however, is always motivated by and finds its source in the foundation of love.
May 30, 2002, in an interview on PBS,
Father Lindon Harris of ’s
Cathedral which stands at the base of where the St. Paul
twin towers once stood told a story of great generosity. It seems that an
elderly black woman heard about a man who had hurt his leg searching for
survivors and clearing rubble at Ground Zero. She walked from her apartment to
the area and talked her way through security. She came into the church, walked
up to the receptionist, gave the lady her personal cane, and hobbled out the
door without it. She wanted that man to have her cane because she thought he
was worse off then her. World
That is a great example of generosity. As I have thought the last several weeks about generosity I have come to the firm conclusion that generosity is offering up something you genuinely love for someone you choose to love more! Maybe the reason so many people are not more generous is not because they lack the resources, abilities, or the means to be generous. Maybe they are not more generous is because they lack the love needed to be generous.
As we begin a new year, let me encourage you to decide in your heart that generosity will become a characteristic of your life. Offer something to others that is valuable to you- your time, a possession, your experience, your spiritual gifts, your forgiveness, a listening ear, a prayer- and see if God does not return your generosity with the blessings of heaven. Generosity is contagious. The moment it starts in you, it quickly spreads to others all around you. Let’s be generous now!