The Splendor of a Generous Life

“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are themselves helped.” (Proverbs 11:24,25 The Message)

We are all familiar with the great classic by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, and his consummate description of Ebenezer Scrooge.

scrooge (1)“Oh, but he was a tightfisted hand at the grindstone. Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!  Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.”

God has called us to something far better. He wants us to be generous.

I have learned that poverty is not the state of not having; it is the fear of not getting, which causes you to hold on tightly to what you do have. And the moment you do that — you shut down your heart from being generous, and close down your life from receiving the blessings that God has for those who give.

“Give , and it shall be given unto you,” Jesus said, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men pour into your lap.” (Luke 6:38).  John Bunyan wrote, “A man there was, and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.” As the old saying goes, “You cannot out-give God.”

Giving is the gateway to greatness. The splendor of a generous life is that it lifts you above the downward pull of poverty and empowers you to enrich others. And, at the same time, by your generous acts towards others you  enrich yourself in ways that cannot be fully measured. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

Let me close with this short humorous story.

A missionary was sitting at her second-story window when she was handed a letter from home. As she opened the letter, a crisp, new, ten-dollar bill fell out. She was pleasantly surprised, but as she read the letter her eyes were distracted by the movement of a shabbily dressed stranger down below, leaning against a post in front of the building.

She couldn’t get him off her mind. Thinking that he might be in greater financial distress than she, she slipped the bill into an envelope on which she quickly penned the words, “Don’t despair.” She threw it out the window. The stranger below picked it up, read it, looked up, and smiled as he tipped his hat and went his way.

The next day she was about to leave the house when a knock came at the door. She found the same shabbily dressed man smiling as he handed her a roll of bills. When she asked what they were for, he replied:  “That’s the sixty bucks you won, lady. ‘Don’t Despair’ paid five to one at Santa Anita.”

Why not be generous in some way to someone today? Your horse just might win tomorrow!

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