I have a hard time with generosity. Not because I’m especially stingy. I just want everyone to be happy and to have enough. It’s so easy to feel guilted into giving and I have a hard time sayng no. Whether it’s my toddler’s pouty face or a dingy markered cardboard sign held in weathered hands at an intersection or a friend asking for time, I want to solve it all with any resources I have.But is it still generosity if I resent it?
This is where the dusty lines of human living collide with my own selfishness, religion (as a set of rules), humanity, and conscience.
It’s not generosity if I don’t have the right attitude, but I still feel like I have to and maybe should add a little bit of effort for other humans and their well-being.
But what constitutes generosity?
I’m coming to realize that generosity is a position of the heart. Kind of like how love is a choice as well as a feeling. I can decide to be generous even if my selfishness leaves me discomfitted in the end. Because sometimes generosity requires a little discomfort.
But I also have the suspicion that sometimes being generous means saying no to requests for money or time or goodies or tv time. Sometimes it’s our job to honor the limitations God has in place in our own lives, or to honor a friendship with honesty, or to care for someone who is dependent on our decisions in a way that brings more life instead of less.
Sometimes generosity means saying no in order to say yes in a different way.
Because generosity can only be our response to God’s mercy, not a demand for us to meet any generosity requirements.
We give because we have been given faith, and grace, and mercy, and salvation. Not because we have to earn God’s acceptance or love.
So in response I will position my heart in generous streams where faith and actions can bring forth beautiful and new stories of redemption. And when I fall short and am not as generous as I might like or feel more resentful than I should, I get to fall again into His grace for me and reposition my heart in the sureness of salvation already won – not my pellmell dash to earn it.
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