noun \ˌje-nə-ˈrä-sə-tē, -ˈräs-tē\
: the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous; especially : willingness to give money and other valuable things to others.
If there’s one thing in this world which gets my goat more than almost anything else it’s miserly, bitter, selfishness. Attitudes that demonstrate narrow mindedness, lack of consideration for the rest of humankind, an ignorance that clouds our ability to see what someone else may need at that point in time, and more so a lack of faith, be that in other people or of course in God.
Unfortunately the society in which we live isn’t particularly conducive to generous living. We’re bombarded with information about how we can get x, y and z by doing a, b and c, and how by having x, y, and z we’re suddenly transformed into more valid and successful individuals, but where does this cycle actually end, when are we actually fulfilled by this material stuff, and the sense of accomplishment it promises to bring? I’ll tell you…never.
In my experience, the happiest, most fulfilled people are not those that have the most, rather those that give the most, and give the best of whatever it is they’re giving. I’m not primarily talking about money here. When was the last time you dropped a meal off for a sick friend, called in on an elderly neighbour for a brew and a chat, offered to help a friend decorate, do the garden, pick their child up from school so they could indulge in some ‘me time’, bought a homeless person a hot meal or whatever else it may be? Generous living is about recognising a need without being asked and acting on that need to make someone else’s life a little easier, without expecting anything in return . It’s giving of ourselves for the greater good of someone else. It’s showing unconditional love for those around you, something that sadly largely opposes societies expectations in this day and age.
As you’ve probably realised by now this is a biblical principle. Matthew 6:19 instructs us not to store up treasures on earth. As my parents (and incidentally the most generous, in all senses of the word, people I know) often tell me, “you can’t take it with you”. In verse 21 it goes on to say, “wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be”. It’s simple really, to discover what your ‘treasure’ is you just need to examine what you want. Unfortunately, many of us want material and monetary things which we ‘can’t take with us’, when really our hearts desires should be to live generously, giving of ourselves and demonstrating the same love and consideration to those around us, that Jesus showed us.
I don’t know about you, but I’m working on storing my treasures in heaven.