Do you consider yourself a generous person or a person that holds the characteristic of generosity? Perhaps we all like to think of ourselves as holding a generosity towards our fellow humans, but deep down do we hold back? Is our kindness balanced with generosity or do we become so overwhelmed with the hurts of the world that we do nothing because we feel we can’t do it all? Perhaps it is necessary to examine generosity closer. For true generosity is the kindness of giving largely of anything, not the giving of everything to everyone.
Once again, the news this week dominates our world with hurricanes, shootings, fires, and economic instability. But the news isn’t really any different today than it has ever been. Because of our 24/7 news bombardment, we can easily get overwhelmed with the abundance of problems that appear to overtake the world. The result of this often leaves us feeling inadequate to help everyone and sometimes in light of that, we simply help no one. Our hearts desire to give with great generosity, but our logic insists that our small assistance is worthless. But have you ever considered what one small light does in the darkness?
One Person at a Time
Edward Everett Hale, an American poet, reminds us of the importance of “one.”
I am only one.
But still, I am one.
I cannot do everything.
But still, I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
Generosity is the giving of the one thing that you can do that shows kindness to someone else. Mother Teresa put it this way, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” When we approach life with this attitude, we shine the light of Christ to others, one person at a time. Through our faith we allow Christ to work through the barriers to demonstrate God’s generosity towards us. If the church as a body all shine their individual lights, God’s house will not be dark.
The Light of Generosity
A while back I read a story that illustrates the importance of the lighted church. Many years ago, in a European mountain village, a wealthy man pondered how to leave a legacy to the local community. He finally decided to build them a church. No one was allowed to see the plans or the inside of the church until it was finished. So, the people watched in awe and anticipation of what was to come.
Finally, the grand debut came, and the people gathered marveling at the grand beauty of the new church. Nothing was missing in the thoughtful design and intricate details as they were abundantly spread throughout the magnificent display of architecture. It was truly a masterpiece.
But then someone said, “Wait, where are the lamps? It is really dark in here. How will the church be lit?” The wealthy man then pointed to the brackets on the walls as he gave every family a lamp. He told them that each time they came to worship they should bring the lamp with them. In this way, every time they were in church the place where they sat would fill with light. He went on to point out that each time they were not, their area would be dark. This was to remind them that whenever they fail to be part of the whole church that a part of God’s house would remain dark.
Understanding Faith with Actions of Generosity
This story demonstrates the importance that we each make with our commitment and generosity to others, as well as to the church as a whole when we bring the light of Christ, we have inside of us and share it. We are each just one, but when all the “ones” are together we are a flame to behold. When we are generous with anything that we have, tangible or not, that helps others, we demonstrate that we understand the good things in life that we hold in Christ.
Through understanding, we gain the desire to not only shine but share the light of all that Christ did for us on our behalf. It is through this that we respond with generosity to others effectively sharing our love, resources, and most importantly; our faith. We may be just “one” that can only be generous to another “one”, but we shouldn’t hesitate to allow our “oneness” to diminish our actions of generosity.
And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.Philemon 1:6 (NLT)
When we speak of shining the light of generosity it is important to remember that this is not necessarily about sharing your wealth and possessions. There are many aspects of our life that we can share generously with others such as time, listening quietly, guiding gently on areas we are knowledgeable in, and countless other ways. When we give generously it not only refreshes the recipient but the giver as well.
Influencing the World with Love Through Generosity
If we move through life providing the influence of love with generosity to others, we avoid allowing our attitude or temperament to add a burden for others to carry. We want to replenish other’s spirits with encouragement, love, and a helpful kind attitude making sure we are not draining other’s energy and motivation with our own complains and problems. It is in this way that our actions display the light and love of Christ through all aspects of our life.
Won’t you be challenged today to put your actions of love and generosity to work? Find the conviction to do so because of the love and generosity that Christ shows you. Be motivated by remembering that the good things in your own life are undeserving gifts given only by God. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that your work on earth today through the shining of your Christ-filled inner light will find its just rewards when you join Christ in His kingdom.
Love in Christ,
You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.Ralph Waldo Emerson
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you balance your life with kindness and generosity? Have you considered that generosity shines the light of Christ in the darkness? Share your thoughts on the importance of generosity and how both you as an individual and the church as a whole can work together to light a dark world.
Credits Moore, J. W. (1994). Some Things Are Too Good Not To Be True. Nashville: Dimensions.