There are many words in the Christian faith that begin with the letter G — Genesis, grace, Goliath, and God just to name a few. These are important words to the life of faith. However, it is also important to be generous.
I love spending time with generous people. There is something magical about being with someone whose energy elevates my own and who inspires me by their giving. As much as I try to be generous with my time, talents and treasures I know that I fall short of where I want to be.
While it is typically the high-profile people who are recognized for their generosity, anyone can become more generous by thinking about eight simple actions.
In Matthew chapter 12 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched people putting their money into the offering. He noticed that many rich people were putting in lots of money. Then he noticed a poor widow who put in in two small copper coins, which were worth a penny. He called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’
As I reflect on this Bible verse and think about the generosity shown to me over the years as well as watching the generosity of others there are 8 traits that can help anyone become generous.
- Generous people care about the welfare of others. It is more than just doing what they think they should do, or do what is the right thing to do. Generous people actually care about others and they want to see others succeed.
- Generous people give, they don’t give to get. More and more in our society we only give something if there is a possibility to get something in return. Like in the Biblical story above, the widow was giving all that she had and she was not getting anything in return. Personal gain should not be a primary factor for giving.
- Generous people are optimistic. They are the cup is half full type people. They want to see the best in people and situations. If they viewed the world in a negative way then they would be less likely to give of themselves. They believe in making a difference, no matter what. As optimists, they see the world in a different light, they truly believe that the world can be made into a better place.
- Generous people trust. To give of yourself means that you trust who you are giving too, the people who receive will use what you have to give in the best possible way. I have become somewhat jaded over the years when I give to help people – because I have been taken advantage of many times. But I continue to keep my heart open to give, I continue to extend my trust because I want to be generous. Generous people trust that the others involved with the organization they are giving to will be using their time and resources appropriately.
- Generous people have energy. Their passion for doing good energizes and revitalizes them to do even more good. When you think of people being generous, energy is one of the first things that come to mind. These individuals devote their energy to the good that they want to do. They also gain energy from their cause. They are passionate about what they believe in.
- Generous people live a simple life. They don’t complain or feel that they are lacking. Instead, they see the universe as abundant. They view what they have as enough and feel compelled to share it. They also practice gratitude and hold a high appreciation for their circumstances.
- Generous people are humble. They are not ego-driven people who are out to impress others, and they don’t give to buy someone’s love or loyalty. They operate from a “give forward, not back” philosophy, with no strings attached.
- Generous people are leaders. This quality might seem to be an odd one at first, but the most generous people are not afraid to stand up and lead for their cause. Although not everyone can actually lead their group or cause, this does not discount these individuals’ leadership ability. Getting involved is in itself a form of leadership.
The most generous people share these qualities to differing degrees. If you are concerned with increasing your own level of generosity, these factors will get you started in the right direction.