Generating Good

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Generosity is a brilliant word and a powerful concept. Kahlil Gibran states , “Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” That is worthy of pondering for a bit.

From this word we understand other things better, like, generate, generator, generative.

Generosity generates something…
It creates something…
From nothing, generosity breathes life and regenerates something beautiful.

However, generosity is not simply about money and wealth. It is a lifestyle that is always humming with creative goodness that brings light to dark places, food to starving spaces and beauty to desolate places.

Steve Goodier sums up the scope well:

“Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give. We can give time, we can give our expertise, we can give our love or simply give a smile. What does that cost? The point is, none of us can ever run out of something worthwhile to give.”

Generosity also has the power to free us from a myopic life of self-everthing. Self-service, selfishness, self-reliance, self-worship. The worship of self has run across the borders of narcissism in our culture, and generosity has the ability to heal us of this most pernicious disease. The Buddha noted:

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.”

The following video is a commercial from Thailand…it reveals the power that a little generosity has to make the lives of others better, and when you do that you cannot escape the personal benefit generosity re-infuses into your own life.

That video causes an unsolicited smile to form on my lips…

Being generous feels good and the scientific stats reveal that generous people are healthier, happy and live longer lives that are worth living.

The Bible has scads of passages about generosity, here are a few to help you pray and invite a spirit of generosity into your life:

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38 

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Psalm 112:5

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.  2 Corinthians 8:12

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Luke 6:30

May you realize just how rich you really are and find yourself coming alive as you become a generous soul that gives especially when there is no chance of repayment.

has our wealth made us blind?

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As I have been working through my talk on the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) this week, the following quote has been working its way through every corner of my soul…what do you think?

“If the Book of Revelation were written today, and there was a letter to the church in America, I think it would decry the fact that our materialism and wealth have deafened our ears and blinded our eyes to the cause of the poor.”

~Rich Stearns (President, World Vision)

Changing The Planet One Small Act At A Time

The joy, happiness and transformation that results from acts of generosity are felt by the giver…the receiver…and beyond. The small acts of generosity make the biggest impact when compounded over time with many people.

I may not be able to change the whole world, but I am able to make a small impact here and there that have ripple effects that I will probably never see.

Too often, people choose to isolate, look the other way, and distance themselves from the very real needs they encounter.

I get it…
The needs are always there…
You can’t fix everything you see…

But as God is a generative God, and He dwells within us…we are being transformed by His presence into His likeness which means that I am growing in generosity.

A friend sent me the following video…about 2 minutes in I teared up. Take a look, and may your heart grow in generosity.

 

beneath the branches, beneath the clothing…

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Palm Sunday in the Christian tradition is spectacular theater in so many ways. Defiance against an empirical regime who would allow no other king than Caesar. Rebellion against a religious regime that would have no other authority than themselves. Challenge towards a people whose worship was given to many things from self to society.

Palms waved, branches laid
Hearts lifted, hopes persisted
Responses singing, hillsides ringing
A road made of clothing
Hosanna in the highest

Jesus rides upon a donkey, the donkey rides upon the cloaks of the people, the people shout with words of hope that will soon reveal they were mixed with doubt. The Sadu Sundar Singh would remind us that all honor goes to Christ, and when we begin to believe our own press we would be wise to remember our role is to hold up, lift up and point people to Jesus:

“When Jesus entered Jerusalem the people spread their clothes in the way and strewed branches before Him in order to do Him honour. Jesus rode upon an ass, according to the word of the prophet. His feet did not touch the road which was decorated in His honour. It was the ass which trod upon the garments and the branches. But the ass would have been very foolish to have been uplifted on that account; for the road really was not decked in its honour! It would be just as foolish if those who bear Christ to men were to think anything of themselves because of what men do to them for the sake of Jesus.

~Sadhu Sundar Singh

Palm Sunday reminds me that it is always about Jesus…

My best is still beneath the branches, beneath the clothing, beneath the donkey…

Beneath the branches, beneath the clothing is a powerful space to dwell in. Free from the need to perform. Free from the pressure of being more than I know I am. Free to be a pilgrim on a journey that simply acknowledges the incarnation of God in our midst.

I am not even the donkey. I am not even the branches. I am not even the clothing…

YET, He calls me His own, His treasured possession  He calls me His son, His daughter. He lavishes me with love and gifts. He knows I might cry crucify, yet He loves me anyway.

May our shouts of Hosanna be free from agenda. the agenda to use Jesus to our own ends. Jesus belongs to no one and everyone. He is no ones poster-boy but He is everyone’s savior. Some shouted Hosanna because they wanted Jesus to be their political poster boy and reestablish the dominance of Israel. Some wanted Him to be their healing poster-boy so they waved branches hoping for a touch from the miracle worker. Some wanted Him to establish His religious influence so that they could be in charge.

Jesus alone new His mission…

Jesus alone didn’t allow all the shouts of Hosanna to sidetrack Him from His calling…

Jesus alone would stay faithful to His purpose while everyone else was committed to their agenda.

May our shouts of Hosanna be free from agenda

May we receive with joy the humility to be beneath the branches, beneath the clothing, beneath the donkey.