We all have this one incredible person in our life. Need to borrow something? She gives it. Need an ear to listen? She patiently gives two. Need a ride to the airport? You know she'll take you.
No, she's not a pushover. She's deeply generous.
We've confused what it truly means to be generous. We hear this word and immediately see dollar signs. And sure, giving financially and tithing are important aspects of generosity. In fact, we have a biblical command by Christ Himself to give to those in need.
But generosity carries other definitions.
I'm reading this fantastic book called Rediscover Jesus (given to me, by chance, by a generous friend - I'm looking at you, Hannah Schellenberg!). There's a chapter in the book devoted to the topic of generosity and the following statement blew me away:
"There may be no more practical way than generosity to bring Christianity to life."
My generosity in encouragement, friendliness, compassion, optimism, truth, and rides to the airport is the most real way the world will see Jesus.
Jesus was radical in His generosity. He lived in the Roman Empire where self-interest was the standard way of living. Jesus changed the world, even to those who don't believe He is the Messiah, by flipping this me-only way of thinking into others-only thinking. Our precious Jesus taught His followers to give selflessly, serving each other in never before seen ways.
Yesterday, I had a precious experience. After reading this chapter on generosity my husband asked me to letter some envelopes for church. These were actually our offering envelopes. I found myself standing at the kitchen counter writing the word 'generosity' one hundred times.
Like the teacher who has their student write lines for misbehavior, my Teacher was reminding me, too. Generosity doesn't stop at the dollar sign. Generosity should flood over into every aspect of my life, being a clear and tangible representation of Jesus.
Matthew Kelly, who wrote Rediscover Jesus, says, "Jesus wants you to become the most generous person in your sphere of influence. He wants you to astonish people with your generosity."
Let's all strive to be that person, that friend who gives with joy and abandon. Because when people see my giving they will see my Jesus.