Like any new workout routine or eating plan feels at first, the generosity project brings its own aches and pains. If you’re not really a generous person, but you’re trying, then you’re likely to be really sore by now.
This next exercise is designed to be more like a nice, long stretch (as opposed to a 6-mile jog). This one’s more like taking a deep breath to fill your own lungs for good.
Yes, this exercise is more of an awareness exercise, where we become aware of the generosity surrounding us but is often overlooked. Acts or gifts we once saw as generous, but now may just blend in. Take a moment and look around the room you’re in.
Just sit here for a moment and look around.
What do you see? Where did it come from? How did it get there? Is anything in that room there by a sheer act of generosity?
For me, yes. I see pretty storage baskets given by a friend. Gorgeous pictures by a talented photographer of my children. A baby swing from my parents. Our leather sofa. A friend forfeited her stellar couch-find so that Chris and I could have a place to sit in our very empty first apartment. She even wheeled-and-dealed the price down for me. I see a candle I got as a gift from my daughter. And if I’m being completely honest, I see almost two-month old birthday cards from when my boys turned one. Cards that show love and generosity from many friends. (It would be nice for me to put them away soon before their second birthday arrives.)
What about you? Any special relics? Pieces of furniture? Or perhaps you don’t have many acts of generosity on display in your room. Maybe you bought every item you see. Maybe you bought your TV or your rug or your sofa. To that, I say look a little closer.
Now I’m looking at the people IN the photos. The lives that grace this home. The image of me, Chris and Olive on the day we found out we were having twin boys – two gifts of life showing God’s generosity towards us. Perhaps you have a picture of your own children. Or your spouse. Or your parents. Or your dog. These lives are acts of generosity towards you. People loving you and being in your life, living it out with you. These people are living acts of generosity.
Generosity lays in our arms at night, as we hold our babies and tuck them in. Generosity is the meal we had for dinner, the depth of flavor, the options upon options of what would satisfy our palates. Generosity is that sturdy surface area over our heads, the four walls that surround us, the bed with a warm selection of sheets and blankets with which we can to sleep. When we have loved ones and homes and meals and full closets we have been withheld nothing. This is generosity, plain and simple.
We often still complain, though. Revealing how we have lost touch with what generosity looks like. We have been given so much yet still want more.
To be generous, we must realize that someone has been generous with us.
Generosity must beget gratefulness.
Gratefulness must beget generosity.
We can’t grow without one another. We can’t thrive without realizing that the Lord has given us each more than we have ever deserved. Take a moment to take in the space you are in. We have been the recipients of generosity. We are living in it constantly, surrounded by it. Our hearts should be filled with gladness because of it.
Don’t be the one living in the midst of generosity overlooked.
Instead, find peace in the presence of the generosity that did not overlook you!