A Generous Life
It’s hard to believe, but here we are at the beginning of the last month of the year and at the end of another great semester. December is known for many things: family, time off, decorations, the end of a year, and generosity, to name a few. I recently heard a few stories about generosity. Former Seahawks football player Richard Sherman paid off $20,000 in lunch debt for children and families in Tacoma-area schools. Another Seahawks player, Bobby Wagner, spent an hour in a grocery store paying for everyone’s groceries. These stories caught my attention, so I did some reflecting on generosity. Research tells us that generous people are more likely to live healthier, longer, and happier lives. If you see a person who is genuinely happy, chances are that person has a spirit of generosity. Sadly, the opposite can be true as well. A person who has an unhappy personality may be so focused on their own difficult situations that they can’t find in themselves the ability to do anything good for others.
The truth of the generosity-happiness connection hit my spirit. Some of us might say we have nothing to give, but generosity is about giving in more ways than just money. Time is one of the most valuable commodities a person has. Give some devoted time to someone this season and listen to their stories. Words can be another valuable gift. Take a moment and send a card, a text, or even better, make a phone call to someone you have not talked to in a while. And of course, a gift is a great way to express yourself. Consider giving a gift in the offering at church, or to a needy family, friend, or coworker. I must admit, as I pondered this thought of generosity, I did something I often tell people not to do – I spontaneously bought a Christmas gift for a friend that was not in my budget! Even worse, I didn’t tell my wife, Brenda, that I was going to do it – again, not usually a good idea. Thankfully, Brenda is very forgiving and understanding, and I can’t wait until Christmas to see my friend’s face when I give him his present. Doing this has made my holiday season so much more fun!
King Solomon is known as the wisest man who ever lived. His most significant request of God was for the wisdom to lead well. In Ecclesiastes 2:26, Solomon wrote, “The person who pleases God will receive wisdom, knowledge, and happiness”. Generosity is at the heart of God’s nature. We know this because of how generously He has given to us, the gift of Jesus Christ we celebrate this Christmas season. Jesus is our hope, our joy, our friend, and our Savior. The most appropriate thing we can do to please God in response to His gift is to generously share His message and His story. Not only will it please God, but it will bring happiness beyond measure to your own heart and life.
Lord, thank you for your generosity in giving your son Jesus to me. Living a life modeled after your Son has changed my life forever. Help me always to live generously, giving myself in the same way that Christ gave Himself for me. Amen.