Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38
I really do not remember what sparked this line of thought, but I do remember that I had been scrolling my social media (not a junkie, but I have my days) and I saw a post. It made me ask myself the question, are you a generous person?
When I think of generosity, I always think of persons I know with a natural inclination to extend themselves to others, persons with a genuine giving nature. Those persons who always slipped a kind twenty in my palms or who buy little trinkets for my kids, who always volunteer to give you a lift or donate something to a good cause. I always thought of generosity in a tangible aspect. People who are always willing and want to do something for you… they are generous. Generosity for me, was something that could evidentially be seen.
I never think to describe myself as a generous person, and not out of modesty either. I love to give and make people feel happy, but I don’t always extend myself willingly. This is truth, but I have learnt over the years that by giving of myself, I then feel more blessed and eager to keep doing so. The more I gave, the more I wanted to give again and again. So, don’t worry, I am growing! 😊
As I am typing this sentence, it comes to me, I was reading a post that quoted a portion of Proverbs 31. 😊 Every now and again, I go and read Proverbs 31 and meditate on it and try to ‘will’ the persona of this awesome woman from the pages of my bible, or the screen of my phone rather… onto myself. I read it and try to clothe myself in her ‘virtuousness’. Don’t we all, strive to be her! She has got it all together! So, this time, a portion of the scripture jumped at me in verse 20:
‘‘She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.’’
And I began thinking, do I do that? I have given away some clothing and toys that my girls have outgrown before, I have bought baby necessities for other moms who were in need. I have given the homeless person a few coins or a loaf of bread before. But somehow ‘‘open her arms’’ and ‘‘extend her hands’’ made me wonder, if what I counted as generosity was enough? And further, am I only generous towards strangers who may be in dire need or do I have the same generous attitude towards my husband, my children, my friends, my inner circle?
Upon further thinking, the image of open arms, and extending hands, doesn’t just make me think of giving ‘something’ to someone, but it gives me the picture of welcoming and beckoning someone/something ‘into’ your arms, into your space. And so, I imagine that this idea of generosity is not just about giving of yourself it’s about inviting people into your home, into your company, into relationship so that they can be blessed by the compassion, understanding and love that is extended by the Saviour through you.
…for with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
I was reminded of the widow who gave all she had as opposed to the rich who gave a portion of their wealth. (Luke 6:21) Jesus said, the poor widow’s gift surpassed them all because she gave not only ALL of what she had but of what she needed to live, and that took sacrifice. After doing a heart check, I can say that I have probably been opening just my hands, instead of my arms and I’m not too sure that that I was really extending or stretching myself in service and love towards others.
Looking into THE WORD, I’m asking God to show me how I can please HIM in this area. Read on to discover ways you can open your arms and extend your hands to those in your inner circle.
As a wife…
- I can support and stand by him even when I am not entirely on board with his ideas. That’s extending and stretching myself past my zone of comfort.
- I can go the extra mile to make him feel appreciated, honoured and respected.
- I can listen to his thoughts and his heart even when it may not interest me or when I am sure I can find a million and one other things to get done.
- I can humbly step in and mask his imperfections to ensure he looks good and is successful in what he does. And I say the term ‘mask his imperfections’ lightly because ain’t nothing imperfect about my man! 😊 But I genuinely mean not highlighting his shortcomings, but instead make your man look good. Talk him up! And where he may not get it all right, you ‘straighten’ his tie’ so to speak, but with kindness and admiration. (work in progress, over here!)
If you do this, that’s GREAT! I respect you and I am happy for you. I know that this is something I need to consistently work at, especially the ‘willingly’ part.
As a mommy…
- I can intentionally give my time and attention, instead of being otherwise occupied. (and trust… it can drain you at times, I know, but the bond of trust and respect that is built is so rewarding and so beneficial – more about that later!)
- I can find out, listen and help them through their deepest and treasured concerns. (Gal 6:2)
- I can gracefully accept their slip-ups, messes and mistakes and show them love amidst the beautiful chaos of motherhood.
- I can be self-less in serving my family, meaning do it in excellence and not out of obligation. You know what I mean, slapping together some dinner just to get it done. Sweeping the floor for the hundredth time in a day but grumbling all the way through. Picking up toys but screaming at them for leaving it on the floor. Instead, showing true and considerate effort in taking care of my family. (2 Cor 9:7)
Hey, if you’re rocking it out and acing this thing, I lift my glass to you, but I genuinely struggle at times and the Word of God keeps me in check. It is the most authentic mirror I have used to date!
As a Friend…
- I can reach out to friends and check on them more than I do now. In this digital age, because we double tapped your post from last night, we feel like we’re in regular communication, like we are up to date with each other’s lives. However, I know that I need to be more intentional in typing a message to say ‘Hey, how are you?’ or better yet, dialling their number and asking ‘Did you enjoy your trip last month? How was the doctor’s visit?’ Not just because they posted: Everything checked out! Praise the Lord means that I am up to date on their life on their concerns or stare of mind. Send a note to show that you are genuine about your love and concern for them. Schedule a lunch date or skype date.
- I can make myself available to assist by giving my time. I am guilty, for sure, of getting wrapped up in my own life of mommyhood and wifehood that I do use that as an excuse at times. And while I know my friends do understand I have different responsibilities; I should try to carve out time to support them. Notice I said time, not just buy gifts, but a phone call, a visit, a spa date, movie night, coffee stop. Pray for them through a voice note, send an encouraging word or scripture. (Prov 11:25)
- I can pray for their success in life.
Essentially, I can demonstrate more generosity by establishing meaningful connections with the people in my life and pursuing quality relationships because that’s what the Proverbs 31 woman is doing by opening her arms. She is calling them into relationship and extends her hand to establish that connection. This is a part of living generously, God’s way. Christ never fed the people just physically, but he always fed their spirit as well as he ministered. Jesus walked this earth giving generously of himself to the end, by welcoming people into relationship with him and teaching them how to feed and nurture that connection with HIM.
Think about it… Are you really being generous in your life?
Hopefully this post isn’t too long, but I really wanted to share my heart with you on this. You can always save this, bookmark it and come back and read later:)
We say we are generous, but what kind of generous are you? the ‘open hands’ generous or ‘open arms’ generous?
Thanks for sticking with me! Love and Light to you as we consider the well-being of each other during this trying and uncertain period. Let’s remember to not only pray for our safety and the safety of others, but for those who have already been affected and have experienced loss.