What’s the difference between people who are generous and people who are not (givers and misers)?
- Generous people give of their time, talents, and treasures, regardless of how much they have.
- Generous people overcome fear
- Generous people know, “It’s not about me!” They value other people.
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” (Calvin Coolidge)
Jesus once told a story in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
Be grateful for what you have! You’ll be more likely to be generous.
Charles Feeney’s Generosity …
In January of 1997 a mystery was solved that had baffled people for nearly a decade. Someone was giving away millions of dollars! The recipients didn’t know why the gifts came or how to ask for more. But still the money drizzled in, to universities, hospitals and service groups around the globe, paid in cashier’s checks and accompanied by word that the giver wished to remain anonymous.
The giver, it turns out, was Charles Feeney, a 66 year-old businessman from New Jersey. Forbes magazine had listed Feeney, the owner of a duty-free shop conglomerate, as one of the 400 richest Americans. But then it was discovered that Feeney’s wealth was only 1% of what Forbes thought it was. How could they be so far off in their projections? For years, Feeney had quietly been giving it away. Over $4 billion in all. Feeney is known as a “shabby:” dresser who flies coach, wears a $5 watch and doesn’t even own a house or a car.
The richest 1% of Americans give only 2% of their annual gross income to charity. And yet Charles Feeney managed to give away 99% of all he had without anyone knowing. (All above info on Charles Feeney from www.time.com)
Value other people! Help others.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” (John Bunyan)
“One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he ought and comes to poverty. A generous person will be enriched, and the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied.” (Proverbs 11.24-25)
“Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can.” (1 Corinthians 16.2)
Where’s your heart?
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6.24).
“If you want to be in charge of your heart, don’t allow possessions to take charge of you.” (John Maxwell)
“Money is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. If it gets on top and you get under it, you will become its slave. (E. Stanley Jones)
Develop the habit of giving and become a giver!
John D. Rockefeller is an example of the benefits of giving. He achieved what our culture calls success. Rockefeller had amassed more wealth than he could ever spend.
By the time Rockefeller was 53 his life was a wreck. Throughout his business career he said, “I never placed my head upon the pillow at night without reminding myself that my success might only be temporary.” He was the richest man in the world and yet he was miserable in every sense of the word. He was sick physically, mentally, and emotionally. There was no humor, balance, or joy in his life.
“I have made millions, but they have not brought me happiness.” (John D. Rockefeller)
Then a transformation occurred. He determined to become a giver rather than an accumulator. He began to give his millions away. He founded the Rockefeller Foundation, dedicated to fighting disease and ignorance around the world. He lived to be 98 years old and was a happy man in those years because of his new and revitalized definition of success.
“Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed.” (Richard Foster)
It’s not the amount; it’s the heart!
“Giving is the highest level of living.” (John Maxwell)
“You can’t out-give God!”
Disciples do what their leaders do. We are disciples of Jesus, so as disciples, we strive to do what Jesus does; to live as Jesus lives. I believe that means our lives should be marked by obedience and imitation – we obey the words of Jesus and we imitate his life!
And when you look at the way Jesus gave, you know there’s no limits to what he gave – he gave everything!
And it wasn’t just his death on the cross, it started long before that. It started when he left heaven and become one of us. The Scriptures say that Jesus “emptied himself.” He gave everything away so that he could give us eternal life! And later, the Scriptures say that Jesus endured the suffering of the cross, because he knew it would be worth it.
Our motives must be the same – we want to be generous so that others may come to know Christ and do life with us, now and for eternity!
Three kinds of Givers …
- Some one has said, there are three kinds of givers — the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb.
- To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks.
- To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get.
- But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness.
Which kind of giver are you?