Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely . . .
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. –John Bunyan
Children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.
I’m going to brag on your parents for a minute.
We were at a restaurant a while back, and, when it came time to pay the bill, they all grabbed for the check rather than hand it over to Nonnie and Pop expecting us to pay it as so many adult children do.
Not only did they fight over who was going to pay the check, I saw them huddling with each other over what kind of tip to give.
In my day, back when the earth was cooling, tips were typically in the range of 10-15%. So, if your bill came to $50, you were supposed to tip anywhere from $5-$7.50.
Your parents decided to give the waitress a 100% tip.
Yes, you heard me right. And, in light of the fact that there were eight of us eating together that night and we were at a fancy-schmancy restaurant, that was no small tip.
On top of that, your parents wanted to leave before the server could come back to see her tip. Not me. I wanted to sit there and bask in the glow of their generosity.
Not them. They couldn’t leave the restaurant fast enough.
Carol Ryrie Brink said, “The most truly generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward.” Your parents get that.
Your parents have many wonderful qualities, and one of them is generosity.
They are incredibly generous people who are always on the lookout for how to give to others with no desire to receive any praise or reward. And, it’s not just their money that they’re generous with—they are just as generous with their time, talents, and heart.
When it comes to generosity, I want you to be like your parents.
- I want you to model yourself after them when it’s time to give generously of the resources you have at your disposal.
- I want you to spend the rest of your life looking for ways to sacrificially give, the kind of giving that often has an “ouch” to it and has no expectation of anything in return.
I want to pat you munchkins on the back for a minute as well. You’re not very old, but I’ve already seen you be generous with each other and with us adults, something that warms my heart.
I’ve seen you give your time, share your favorite toy, and provide help when needed. You will never know the smile you put on your parent’s and grandparents’ faces when we see you being generous in those ways.
A specific version of your generosity that I especially appreciate is that you give me your French fries when we go to Chick-Fil-A.
I’m ashamed to say this, but I know you like the fruit that comes with a kid’s meal more than the fries, and there have been many times I “helped” you with your order by suggesting you get the fries instead of the fruit.
I do this because I know you aren’t going to eat very many of the fries and will hand them over to me.
A word of caution about generosity.
I would encourage you to be careful not to be too generous with people, especially those who are selfish and exploitive (like Pop).
There are people out there who, if you give them an inch, they will take a mile and keep asking for more and more until your time, talent, and treasures are exhausted.
Avoid these folks if you can. Just don’t apply this standard to me when it comes to your French fries.
Some final thoughts.
I believe that if we practice generosity with others, it often comes back our way sooner or later, even if it’s just seeing the smile on the face of the person we give to.
In general, when you give generously, the generosity you expressed often shows up later on your doorstep.
We don’t give for that reason, of course, but it’s a nice little perk God seems to have wired into human-to-human relationships.
Another thing I would say is that being generous makes sense because you can’t take anything with you.
Not to be morbid, but we’re all going to die someday, and it is irrational and even wrong to withhold things from others that we either don’t need, don’t use, or simply need to give to those who lack.
Henri Nouwen was wise to observe, “When we face death with hope, we can live life with generosity.” The hope of their being an afterlife ought to spur us on to live life with generosity in the here-and-now.
Also, I’ve always been struck by the words of Jesus, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).
Many of us have been blessed with so much, let’s make sure we give back just as much as we’ve been given.
Finally, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll be more generous later on when you have more to give.
William Swan Plummer was right when he said, “He who is not liberal with what he has, does but deceive himself when he thinks he would be liberal if he had more.”
Give generously of what you have now, and don’t wait until sometime down the road when you have more. What you can give today is more than enough.
Your parent’s generosity over the years has inspired me to be more generous. I appreciate that about them. You’d be wise to model yourself after your parents in this very important way.