What moves you? What makes you laugh or cry? A story, a friendship, a God-prompting? You give because of these heart reasons. As you give, you move closer to being the kind of person you want to be. You remember you have been blessed and you celebrate that abundance. You think about the things in life that bring you deep joy or that break your heart. Where you give and how you give are just the details. Your heart is the start.
At different seasons of life, God places different priorities on your heart and opportunities in your path. Your task is to be open. What do you see unfolding around you? How can you join in? How can you make a difference?
Once you have established your calling to give you can think about the details. You pay close attention to the attitude of your spouse or friends. You learn to say “no” graciously when an opportunity doesn’t resonate with both yourself and people you trust. You do your homework, ask for references, or even give in a small measure to see what happens.
Sometimes, you give to a cause you feel is vital, a little each month, even though a decade goes by without a single thank you note. You continue giving, because you trust your friends involved in the ministry are changing lives for others just as they once impacted your life.
Other times you give to a charity when a friend asks. It doesn’t stand out in your mind, but your gift keeps the organization going during a rough season. Your friend never forgets your kindness and eventually returns the favor, with a gift to a cause you support.
Regularly, as needs arise, you give to a family member in crisis, a cousin starting out in ministry, an acquaintance at work who lost a loved one. You don’t do it for a charitable deduction and the world will never know about your contribution. But, every time you see the person, back on their feet and thriving, you remember that you were blessed to play a small part.
One day, you come across the perfect match, a cause that ignites your passion with a leadership team you really admire. You make a few small gifts and find they go a long way, like the loaves and fish. You start volunteering, and eventually you even join the board. After a decade of giving and serving, you are shocked to realize you made a huge impact. It happened so slowly and effortlessly, it didn’t even feel like a sacrifice.
Through this journey, you learn you can’t out-give God. Each time you wonder if you are stretching beyond your means, you find your own needs are provided. It seems like coincidence at first, but there is a consistent pattern – as you give, you are entrusted with more.
You are careful, however, not to give to receive reward. You know God blessed you when you had nothing and that he makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good. You marvel that God doesn’t need you, but he chooses you.
A profound truth sinks into your spirit: what you have is not your own. Everything – your money, your time, your relationships, your life itself – all of these are gifts from above. All that you give is from what you have been given. This knowledge helps you hold even the most precious things loosely.
Your journey of generosity leads you to places beautiful and unexpected. You are not alone. You find the others. As unique as your calling might have once seemed, there are friends walking the same road. Together you change the world for God and for good.
What about you? Have you walked a similar road or have you experienced generosity in a different way? Maybe you have been on the receiving end of remarkable generosity? I’d love to hear your story.