generosity

Who would turndown a doughnut?

Photo Credit: Mupfel80 via Pixabay

Okay.

So. A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about how I should disrupt my daily routine and intentionally take some time to love someone I am not relationally connected to or could benefit from in any selfish way.

My mind has been going full-speed thinking about what it means to truly follow the words of Jesus and love my neighbors. How can I have open eyes to the people around me?

I have been praying a lot about this:

 

If we want to share what Jesus has done in our lives with our neighbors, we need to be willing to intentionally disrupt our daily routine.

 

So I did it.

I was walking by a homeless man and I sensed God tell me to go to 7-eleven, and by him a cup of coffee and a doughnut.

I was hesitant because I had only a few dollars on me and that was all the money I had available to me. Or I should say the only cash that Fina was allowing me to carry around with me :)

The cash was suppose to be for my cup of coffee. What would I look like if arrived to a coffee meeting and couldn't afford a cup of coffee?

Well, I got over my selfishness and bought a coffee and doughnut for the homeless guy.

I thought fore-sure this dude was going to be overwhelmed with jubilation, because I was about to make his day...

Photo Credit: Hans via Pixabay

Guess what happened. The homeless guy refused my generosity, because it was not good enough for him. The man told me he didn't like 7-eleven doughnuts and coffee. Ultimately, cash is what he wanted—he told me so.

Afterwards, we carried on a conversation for a bit, then I went to my coffee meeting.

Here are a few things I learned from this:

- Not everything works out the way we think it should. Even when prompted by God to take action. - Rejection is hard. No matter who it comes from. - I learned that I can disrupt my daily routine. It's not that difficult.

- The homeless dude is the one who said hi to me when no one else did (See my blog post about this: That time when no one but a homeless man said hello to me…)

- Everyone has standards. - It's better to give and be rejected, than to do nothing. - 7-eleven coffee and doughnuts aren't really that good. Sorry 7-eleven.

Free from human opinion...

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. (Proverbs 29:25 MSG)

 

So often we are afraid to be generous to people around us, because we fear what others will think of us. Human opinion weighs heavy on whether or not we will be a generous person.

Many times we don't have conversations with people who really need to hear a kind word or friendly voice, because we are afraid of what they will think of us—will our words be valuable to them or not. Or even worse, we are fearful of what our friends, our spouses, or our "perceived audience" would think of us if we were to have a conversation with "that person."

And the same goes with giving our resources away. Often we don't want to be generous with our money or our things because we are not sure it will be replaced if we were to give it away. And if we don't get our resources replaced, then we won't have monetary or material wealth—we might become "less than" in the eyes of others.

Sometimes it's the opposite—what happens if people don't want what we have to give them... What if our money and things aren't good enough for them? Do we become less valuable of a person because we have been rejected?

We get this twisted idea that our wisdom, money or stuff defines who we are as a person.

How did we become accustomed to having our wisdom, money or material goods be the metric of our value to society? The answers are many, but at the core is our lack of deep understanding of how much we mean to God.

Free from human opinion...

Our value and identity isn't found in how much we know or tied to how much is in our bank accounts—it's found in a generous relationship with God. What I mean is this; God is generous with us, so that we can be generous with our neighbors—as freely and as generous God is to us, we are to be equally free and generous.

Being generous is tied to our trust in God—trusting that He will continue to meet our needs, and realizing our value is found in the extravagant love of Jesus.

When we digest these truths, we have the protection to be free from human opinion to live a generous life.

God wants you to live free from human opinion. Don't let what others think of you keep you from being generous.

The Two Are Opposites

"The killer of generosity is Bitterness."

I read the above quote from Seth Godin. You can find his blog post here: Deconstructing Generosity

It's interesting isn't it. In fact the two are extreme opposites, both generosity and bitterness. One is being selfless and the other being selfish.

One makes you happy and the other makes you unhappy. One adds to your life, and the other takes away from your life.

Why then do we gravitate towards one over the other?

Is it because we selfishly want to be happy?

Joe