We recently started a four-part teaching series on generosity. In preparing my thoughts for week two, I’ve been processing this idea of the healing power of generosity. Jesus taught us that it is “more blessed to give than to receive,” though we often live as if we believed the opposite.
Why would Jesus say such a thing? Why is it better to give than to receive?
Having a generous spirit is a safeguard against three specific things:
Selfishness is the opposite of a generous spirit. Rather than give things away, selfish people hold on to them. Selfish people live with the idea of “limited resources.” In other words, there is only so much time … money … ideas … energy to go around — so it’s better to use it for yourself than to waste it on someone else.
A self-centered person believes life revolves around him. The goal in life is to entertain yourself. Instead of looking for ways to serve others, a self-centered person expects other to serve him.
When times get tough, it’s easy to fall into the trap of self-pity. Maybe your stock portfolio is down; perhaps you’ve taken a pay cut or been laid off from work. The temptation is to focus on what you don’t have rather than on what you do have.
A generous spirit is the antidote to all three.
It frees us from selfishness by seeing our resources as something that can bless others. It challenges us to look outside of ourselves and to see how interconnected we really are. And finally, it frees us from self-pity because we find that there is always someone who is in worse shape than we are.
The healing power of generosity is real and you can get started today.