3 Ways to Exercise Your Generosity Muscle
by Kerry Plantz - Soul Care Counselor
“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine…is mine.”
Have you ever heard this saying? It always makes me laugh, but isn’t that how some of us genuinely feel? We want people to share and be generous with us, but when we’re asked to give what we have, it’s a much harder thing to do.
As a little girl, my older sister loved wrapping up her toys and giving them to me. I loved this about her. She has always been so quick to joyfully give and help people in her life. If you told her you loved her shirt or her boots or her dress, she would give them to you because she delights to bless people this way. It comes so easy for her.
Who comes to mind when you think of a generous person? Do you ever wonder why that person is so generous? Do you think of yourself as a generous person? I know so many incredibly generous people and have been the recipient of many kind gifts that were overwhelming. However, I often struggle to think of creative ways I can give!
Generosity is a muscle.
As believers, generosity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. This is something God calls us to do - “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). He has even said that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). God’s generosity was perfectly shown to us in the giving of his son, Jesus - “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 For. 8:9).
Generosity is a simple, yet profound way to display the heart of the Father to a needy and selfish world. It’s also a practical way to curb our selfish tendencies. Here are three things you can do to exercise your generosity muscle today.
1. Pray for opportunities
Start by praying that God would create a generous heart in you and ask Him to show you opportunities where you can be generous to others. It’s important to understand that generosity isn’t just about giving our money. We have so much to give to those around us - our time, God’s truth from His Word, comfort, companionship, our possessions, our homes, or even a ride to work. Maybe the most generous thing you can give is a hug to a coworker who is struggling right now and has no one close in their life. Pray for opportunities and let God show you where He would have you open your heart to give generously.
2. Memorize what God says about generosity.
Another way to engage in generosity is to memorize what God’s Word says about having a generous heart. It is so helpful to have God’s Word hidden in your heart on the days when your flesh says, “I don’t want to. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Let God’s truth speak louder saying, “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) or “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life” (Matt. 28:20) or “The point is this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (Cor. 9:7). I do this with my children. Their memory verse is Acts 20:35 and it is so helpful for them to remember that it is God’s voice telling them to give generously, not just Mom and Dad. We can train our heart to trust God’s Word and act upon it, no matter how we feel, by letting God prove it time and time again as we walk in obedience and give as He asks us to.
3. Practice generosity.
This is going to look differently for all of us. Whether you already give and want to continue to grow in your generosity or you never give and want to begin - don’t be ashamed, start where you are, and take baby steps. Over time this will build the muscle in your heart to give generously. It takes action on our part to cultivate a heart that desires to give. Maybe today it’s buying a coffee for a coworker and then the next week you take someone to lunch and invest in them. Maybe God has blessed you with a home and you invite friends over for dinner. Whatever it is that God sets out in front of you, let His Spirit lead your heart and obey when He asks you to give. Watch what He can and will do through your obedience. See His goodness as you trust Him in this exercise. Every good and perfect gift is from our Father in Heaven (James 1:17) - it is all His anyway! Allow Him to lead you in blessing those around you. Remember, He gave everything for us in Jesus. How can we then sit and hold onto what we have so tightly? Let go and experience the joy of giving today - God promises you won’t regret it!
“Whoever gives to the poor will not want…”
If you are interested in ways that you can give of your resources or time, click on the links below.