Three Life Lessons from the Most Generous Person I Know

Who taught you about generosity? Many have brought wisdom and illustrious generosity actions into my life, but some stand out more than others with consistent generosity in their daily lives.Take a moment and write down the name of the most generous person you know.

Now write three characteristics of that person that you would want to emulate in your life.

I constantly marvel at those who are generous beyond expectations. Here are three lessons I have learned while watching generous people live all around me.

  1. God is the source of true success. In most cases, those who have the opportunity to be generous with wealth have achieved this wealth through hard work. Yet, in the midst of starting their own company or becoming wildly successful in their field of expertise, they have this deep appreciation for how God has provided. While their personality can fill the room, I don’t usually feel their ego squeezing everyone else out. This understanding leads to the conclusion often spoke: “If God owns it all, the question is not ‘How much do I give back to God?’, rather ‘How much should I keep?’” For God is the supply and He knows your needs: “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
  2. Generous people are not miserable people. Quite the contrary. They are joy-filled. While I have no scientific evidence, I have never seen this contradicted. There is a distinct connection between financial generosity and joy. This all points to personal perspective on money. The Rich Young Ruler had too much of his identity wrapped up in his personal wealth – he was not willing to allow the throne of his heart to be occupied by something other than money. Meanwhile, Zaccheaus was so overwhelmed by meeting Jesus, that he responded with reconciliation and generosity. The grace of Jesus causes a profound paradox: you gain by giving.
  3. Generosity goes way beyond the wallet. The most generous person I know is generous beyond his money. He has no sense of superiority over others. He loans out his personal belongings all the time (people borrow his car and he thinks nothing of it). He truly has a generous spirit. He gives his wisdom, time, networking… all for the benefit of others… without asking or expecting  anything in return.

When I was eight years old, I was standing by my mom and dad after a morning worship service. Our pastor approached us in the foyer and began to chat with us and then proposed a question: “Glen, our worship services are packed and we are preparing to launch a third worship service at 8am…” STOP. Did I mention that I was 8? My mind immediately begins to consider ways to interrupt this outcome – I like sleeping in a bit later on Sunday mornings. How can I defend my self here?

Too late… because my dad interrupted Pastor Dave, but not with self-defense: “We’re in. You can count on us.” In that moment, I got it. My dad displayed sacrificial generosity; inconvenience for our family so that more people could hear the message of Jesus Christ was no inconvenience at all.

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