Did you survive Black Friday? I’m always amazed to hear of people camping outside a store for 8 days to save $240 on a new TV. My math doesn’t calculate economic sense (if you are employed) into such an outrageous decision but it gives news directors a story to fill up a 30-minute slot on a slow news day. A favorite author and blogger, Seth Godin jarred my attention recently with this question, “What happens when we adopt the posture of being in a hurry to be generous?”
We are often in a hurry. We are in a hurry to get to the front of the line, to finish first, to close a sale, to get a limited item before the hoarders get it. What if we became known as the people who are in a hurry to be generous? It’s an interesting sort of impatience.
Wouldn’t it be a game-changer if you and I were notorious for generosity with our insight, our kindness, our place in line, our time, talent and treasure? What if the news this week was filled with people putting others ahead of themselves, serving the needy, giving the poor a hand up rather than brawls at Wal-mart over a $4.99 video game?
There are very few people who don’t like the idea of generosity. We humans love to help others and confront needs when we see them. Unfortunately, there are also very few people who are content with the level of generosity in their lives. Most people I know wish they were able to give more.
Joshua Becker, blogger at the popular Becoming Minimalist website, suggests we move toward generosity through taking simple steps:
Consider the Benefits of Generosity – Generous people report being happier, healthier and more satisfied than those who don’t give.
Embrace Gratitude – Make a list of the things in your life for which you are most grateful. Intentional reflection on your blessings will set the tone for sharing.
Start Small – If you’ve never given away money, start by giving away $1, $5, or $20. I had the privilege of growing up with the Biblical concept of tithing (meaning tenth) as my starting point but have grown in generosity to usually doubling that percentage each year.
Give First – Make your first expense the act of giving. Giving out of our left overs doesn’t work very well when we have been ingrained with the habit of spending all of it on ourselves.
Spend Time With People in Need – One of the most effective antidotes for non-generosity is to make space in your life for those much worse off than yourself. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to some of the poorest nations on this earth. But, just rubbing shoulders with need right in your own city can change your viewpoint.
Spend Time With Generous People – Hanging around generous people will inspire you. Ask them, “Have you always been generous? When did you become so generous, and why?”
Make a Decision to Own Less – Owning less doesn’t automatically make you a more generous person but it will provide the space necessary to make it possible.
Generosity rarely happens by chance. Instead, it is an intentional decision that we make in our lives. But it does not need to be as difficult as many people think. Starting with these simple steps may be the best step we can take in our hurry to be generous.
QUESTION: What simple steps have you incorporated into your life to foster generosity? Share yours below in the comment section.