The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Since they were young, my wife and I have worked diligently to instill a generous spirit in our girls. Now, teenagers, we see our investment pay off as both have a heart for the needs of others. However, this hasn't always been this case, and we've had plenty of "teachable" moments along the way, including the time when a severed Barbie head became collateral damage.
"NO....that's MINE!!!" When they were toddlers, a battle ensued in their playroom. My oldest daughter gripped the iconic blonde from Malibu by her hair while my youngest clasped at her feet. The tug of war went on with no one willing to budge. That's when it happened. Almost in unison, they screamed at the top of their lungs, "Sharing is...CARING!!!" I couldn't help but break out in a loud laugh, which caught both of them off guard, causing one to let go of their grip. As a result, Barbie's head popped off and flew through the air.
Sharing is caring. At the time, my girls understood this principle in theory but had a challenging time living it out. And to that I say, don't we all? Generosity doesn't come naturally to any of us. It requires practice, intention, and focus. God invites us to give of ourselves knowing that our hearts will respond accordingly as we learn to live generously. By taking a step of faith and being generous, we develop a posture that maximizes what God wants to do in our lives.
Generosity fuels contentment, and the act of giving tells our hearts where to go. Sharing is indeed caring, but often not in the way we think. Yes, by looking toward the needs of others, we are caring for their well-being. But, what we don't realize is through simple acts of service we're caring and tending to our soul.
Today's passage introduces a new way of thinking about generosity, kindness, and serving others. The formula Scripture uses is one you will not find in a textbook or see taught inside a classroom. It goes against the grain of our culture's push for more and to look out for number one.
The message is one of addition by subtraction, gaining from giving, and holding on means missing out. Generosity leads to gain not just for the receiver, but the giver as well. The reverse of that statement is also true: a selfish, "me" focused individual not only deprives the person in need of help, but he also robs himself in the process.
Investing in others is an investment in our transformation. By giving ourselves away, we gain so much more. We catch a glimpse of God’s heart while He transforms our own.
Where are you investing in the lives of others?
What is something new God has started to develop in your heart? How are you going to cultivate it so that you can share it with others?
God, I desire to be a blessing to the people around me. May I practice generosity today with my words, my focus, my resources, and my actions. Stretch me and use me in any way You see fit. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.