Living a life of generosityLatest Issue, Where's the Faith? Thursday, October 12th, 2017
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!
Looking up the word “generous” in the dictionary, you’ll find these descriptions: magnanimous, kind, liberal in giving, openhanded, marked by abundance or ample portions. Generosity boils down to being liberal in giving – extravagant!
Nature gives us plenty of examples of generosity. Looking up at the stars on a clear night, experiencing the ocean, birds, trees and the vast desert landscape affects our mental wellbeing and actually inspires compassion and generosity.
Generosity is seen in communities of faith too. So many consistently and faithfully and generously share in supporting the mission and vision and outreach of your community. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Thank you.
The Apostle Paul also reminded the church in Ephesus the words of Jesus where he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
All through Scripture we find instruction and stories of those who live lives of generosity and give joyfully. The reality is that this kind of generosity is a part of our worship. Giving is an act of worship.
In an article in The Economist a few years back, there was an article called, “Altruism – The Joy of Giving.” This article talked about the impact the “spirit of generosity” makes on the human brain. It goes on to ask what could motivate a donor to give to a cause or mission that gives nothing back to them directly in return? For example, giving to a faith community that reaches out and provides multiple avenues for people to hear of God’s inclusive love and then to learn and grow spiritually – the answer, according to neuroscience, is simply, that it feels good. Even medical research underlines what Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
So what is your experience? Have you discovered the generosity factor? Are you a generous person? My prayer is that more and more of us will discover that, yes, it is more blessed to give than to receive. I’m here to tell you – a spirit of generosity will transform your life.
Generosity and gratitude, as a fundamental spiritual disposition, responds to life in a positive way. With this mindset, mere existence is wonderful. Being alive is something to be celebrated. Even the smallest things can bring joy if we let them. Maybe Warren Zevon was right in saying, “Enjoy each sandwich!” … the little things in life.
People who are spiritually awake are attuned to this. They can take the occasional overpowering experiences of life and still, be able to live in the present moment able to enjoy the big and little blessings that are all around us.
Open your eyes and see the beauty all around you. Open your heart to the spirit of generosity and gratitude. Cultivate that spiritual disposition. Weave it into the fabric of your daily existence. And do you know what happens when you do? You grow in generosity you become a generous person. You live out of the abundance of the gift of life.
Gratitude reminds us that the gifts and resources around us are precious and beautiful and that there is enough, and, they are not ours to hold on to for very long. Gratitude reminds us that the real joy in life is being a blessing to those around us. It reminds us to invest ourselves and our resources in ways that multiply the blessings that we know are spiritually real.
The spiritual discipline of gratitude and the fruit of the Spirit of generosity shape all aspects of how we live; our time, our involvement, and our investments.
You are a miracle! God has generously and uniquely gifted you. Live out of your positive spiritual energy and generously let it multiply. Generously invest yourself in others in ways that others can grow. Bless others. Give generously!
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