In middle school I figured out that, if there weren’t any girls in computer class, then they must be in another class. I thought it might be fun to join them. Turns out they were taking chorus. So naturally I made sure I took chorus. There I met a lady named Mrs. Carson who taught me something that I would never forget. Mrs. Carson was a retired public school teacher who was spending her retirement teaching middle schoolers. When she wasn’t teaching school, she was the youth leader at St. Andrews UMC. I know that because I attended that youth group during those years. The reason I remember Mrs. Carson is her generous heart. Every year she took her youth group kids to the beach for a week. I remember it costing something like $30, which certainly didn’t cover the cost of gas much less food and activities for the rest of the trip. I can remember several other trips both in school and with the youth group that the registration fee just didn’t add up. I believe if I asked her today she wouldn’t think much of it. Why? Because that was her generous heart talking.
She is one of a dozen examples of people in my life that gave sacrificially so I could do and enjoy things I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. I’ve been honored to receive investment from these people. Because they were generous my life was radically changed. Because of these people – and from what I read in the Bible – I want to live a life of generosity. I want to live with my hand open rather than clinched around the riches I think I have.
Here are 3 reasons to increase your generosity:
Giving makes you happy.
Research has shown it: “Researchers … on a new collaborative project (Cognitive and Emotional Health Project: The Healthy Brain ) have discovered that there is a physiological basis for the warm glow that seems often to accompany altruistic giving. … Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) revealed that making a donation activated the donors’ brain reward centers, the mesolimbic pathways responsible for the dopamine-mediated euphoria associated with sex, money, food, and drugs (Moll et al. 2006). We should not be surprised to learn that people feel good when they do good.” Don’t believe me – read the full article (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045300912.html). Don’t believe them – give something away this week.
Giving is an investment.
Investing in people will never come back void. It’s true: investing in people is the riskiest investment. It makes one available for a great amount of disappointment, hurt and heartache. But don’t let the downside stop you- being generous will also will bring you the greatest joy. And if it doesn’t? At your funeral no one will mention the things you accumulated. “He sure did live in a nice house.” Instead they will mention, if they say anything, the impact you had on other’s lives. (source: Andy Stanley at the 2014 Leadercast)
Giving positions you for growth.
Giving should be a selfless act, but of all the areas of discipline it has the greatest potential of personal gain. That’s right, personal gain … and I believe that’s OK. Being generous changes things (the people and places that receive the gift) but more than changing others, it changes the giver. Why? My unscientific reason is this –
- It gives perspective. When you choose to give you choose to see with a new set of eyes. Eyes of compassion and empathy.
- It softens your heart. Empathy and compassion soften the heart and it’s impossible to keep one area of your heart hard while another is soft.
Who is a radical giver in your life? What is your legacy of generosity? What immediate need do you see in your circles that need your generosity?
-Adapted from blogger Nick Cerda, pastor/entrepreneur in Asheville NC; http://www.nickcerda.org/ – used by permission