2nd July 2011
I visited a sick person in a hospital recently, and was given fifteen minutes to leave the parking lot after having my ticket stamped for pastoral work, but as I arrived at my vehicle, I saw a line of ten cars waiting at the ticket booth. It was obvious that I would not make it out in the five minutes that remained on my free ticket. But here is what I noticed: the people in that line were furious at being delayed, but not even one person had taken the time to get out of their vehicles to help the car stuck at the ticket booth. Some were shouting, and hooting. There was hostility in the air.
You might ask: what has this to do with generosity. It does – let me explain: a person generous of heart feels for others, and places the needs of others above their own. I must first be honest and admit to my lack in this area, but this day, I was moved with compassion – a generosity of heart toward the person in that car. I got out of my vehicle and approached the ticket booth, I saw an old man seated in his car, and who was in a state of confusion. His ticket was torn in the machine. The machine operator was insisting that unless he paid cash, that he would not be let out of the parking lot.
The generous have everything to gain, and very little to lose – they are generous of heart, generous of words, and generous of actions.
Generosity of heart releases a fragrance into the air long before and after the more visible acts of giving. Generosity begins in the heart, and that is where students of character should begin. The state of our heart affects how we respond in situations… and also how we use our resources!
Moreover, generosity of heart changes our view of others, and improves our ability to endure even when in difficulty!
Thankfully that day, the opportunity to help someone caused my heart to soar. I asked the operator if I could pay for this man’s parking with my credit card. He said yes, and I did so, but here is the interesting thing: this simple act of generosity had affected the people in the entire line of cars, now twenty cars long. It completely turned the situation around. The hostility was gone, and an old person was helped! What I got out of that encounter was far more than what I had given. I urge you, and continue to urge myself, to turn our situations around through maintaining a generosity of heart.
God helps the generous by blessing them more richly – yes, he gives them much more than they have given to others. Through the Spirit he says to us: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). Through Solomon God says, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). And again, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). David affirms this heart as follows, “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice” (Psalm 112:5).
Every day presents you and I with these marvelous opportunities to show the love of God. Tell me your stories. It would bless me.