What comes to your mind when I mention the word “generosity”? Or maybe I should ask – who comes to mind when I mention the word “generosity”?
My gut tells me that most people have a face or an experience that is an immediate recall when this word comes up in conversation. Why is that? Because generosity is not measured by output as much as by the heart!
We see the amount of the gift that we deem generous – but more sense the size of the heart or spirit of the one being kind and plentiful in their giving. Generosity is not seen as much as it is felt. Generosity is not seen in good intentions. It is sensed from the outpouring of someone’s action. Hence, you envision an occasion when you saw someone’s act of kindness.
The story is told of a “pay it forward” experience at a fast food drive-through window. Someone instructed the clerk that they wanted to pay the bill for the party in the next car. His/her act of generosity led to a string of people doing the same for the order from the car following them for some time.
Generosity prompts us to carry forward the act to others as has been done for us. We give generously when we sense of recall someone being generous to us. It is done in a manner than expects nothing in return … and cannot be thanked in person. It acts generously because their heart directs such an act or grace and gratitude.
Generosity is often seen in a monetary gift or a financial act. Instead, I would suggest that generosity of time can be as powerful in making an impact! Generous acts can be one-time, momentary actions, or they can be a form of commitment to a pattern of behavior/giving over an extended period of time.
The most generous act in human history came in an unsuspecting way in a humble setting – as a Babe born in manger to a couple who were traveling to pay their taxes. The gracious gift came from the heart of God as He miraculously birthed a divine/human in the womb of a lowly maiden.
That gift has made all the difference as ‘God come to earth’ – or as John describes this mystery, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). It was not a financial bequest – but it was costly!
It was a one-time event – but it lasted for eternity. It was encased in a private, almost unknown moment – but it became a public spectacle as shepherds were heralded by an angelic choir and wise men from the East were led by a star and the political powers responded with fear!
God’s generous gift of grace came from a heart that desired to change the world – and promote a whole new way to live. He created a standard for generosity by giving His Son to make many sons from those who were enemies. An act of generosity is generous only if what is bestowed by the action is of value to the giver … regardless of the response of the response from the recipient.
God gave His most precious, perfect Gift to make an impact on humankind – regardless of what mankind’s response would be. It was not a power-play – but a gracious gift made available to all who by faith would bow the knee and receive Him freely.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15)
There are not words to express the impact of God’s generosity. Christmas is a moment that should always be associated with our highest and most endearing image of generosity.
Think about it!