Just today I had a conversation with a friend and the subject of generosity came up. Honestly, I guess I’d never really thought of it apart from the giving of money. You know, “he made a generous donation,” or “she was so generous with her giving this year”. As I think on topic, the giving of money is but a facet. In fact, there are various ways to demonstrate generosity.
Perhaps the Christmas season has sparked an interest within me on this subject; after all, it is quite assuredly the largest (retail) season for giving of the entire year. I began to ponder the concept of what it means to give of yourself. Whether or not it involves money is immaterial. My friend and I were discussing the fact that some of us are quick to offer our money, perhaps because it is a commodity we have, rather than giving of our time. Maybe our time is quite scarce and so, it is easier to turn loose of some cash.
Case in point: several years back, a dear couple friend of ours with young children hadn’t been out on a date night in quite some time. So my husband and I offered to keep their kids for them for a few hours so they could enjoy a rare night out. To us, it was a mere gift of our time; we weren’t babysitting for money. While they thanked us for watching their kids, truly we received the blessing! We felt overjoyed to be able to do something for our friends whom we love so much. We were able to be generous with our time and desired to bless them with a night out. We enjoyed giving of ourselves! (*)
To effectively give of oneself, the heart is a package deal. When our heart is in the right place, then we find we are acting out of a pure heart, and with the right spirit. This is the quintessential art of giving. Giving of yourself is an act of selflessness. Again, sometimes this generosity involves money and other times it does not. More important is that you give of yourself because you really want to, not because you feel manipulated, or desire notoriety for your philanthropy. Our heart matters. How is yours?
So, this Christmas as you’re wrapping up your gift buying, or just beginning your shopping, don’t buy into our culture’s model of overspending in an attempt to purchase just the perfect gift. Try thinking outside the box! Perhaps a simple card with heartfelt written words would mean so much more than the random $20 gift you were planning to purchase. Offering your time to cut someone’s yard throughout the summer, helping to provide meals for a widow or a working single Mom would be so appreciated. Purchasing a newspaper subscription or paying for winter snow removal for a parent or grandparent on a fixed income would be well received. As long as it comes from your heart, you’re giving a generous gift. In this, we demonstrate our love for one another.
*(Note: my intent in sharing this is not to brag or to receive accolades, rather to illustrate what giving looks and feels like.)