I recently read, “The Genius of Generosity” by Chip Ingram.
Less than 100 pages in length, this book flipped the switch on a major light bulb moment in my life.
Told through a simple story of generosity, this true-life experience has the ability to change lives and create a movement that is often missing in our society.
The gist of the book is shared in Chapter One. A new Pastor is given access to a secret checkbook with the sole purpose of being generous. The lessons that emerge are profound.
As I read the book, it occurred to me that generosity is one of the simplest actions for us to partake in. During this Christmas season, we think about the generosity of gifts, how generous will you be with your boss, the kid’s teachers and Aunt Edith? Many of us look at generosity as a task that is expected on special occasions, “The Genius of Generosity” made it clear that true generosity is found in year-round service and giving.
In reading the book, I began to look for opportunities that I could be generous. Through my time, talents, gifts and service, generosity allows me to shape the future in small and large ways.
In seeking opportunities to be generous, I found that the true reward has little to do with what I give, but more about the feeling I get in giving. Knowing that my small gift helps make the life of someone else easier certainly is a blessing that far outweighs the gift.
As I search for opportunities that I can be generous, I find that often it is in small gifts of service or finance that makes the biggest differences. It isn’t about the big gift, but the small token that allows someone to know that they are being thought of by a neighbor.
Generosity has nothing to do with size, it is all about heart.
As I have looked for giving opportunities, I have found them. No big life altering donations or life changing moments, just small gestures that make a difference.
The rewards I have found through generosity have far more to do with my heart than the gifts. Being generous simply feels good, there is no other way to say it and if 20, or 50 or 100 dollars can help someone, the feeling I get is 10 fold.
Most importantly I have found that generosity is best given quietly. We hear stories of major gifts given by celebrities on a daily basis, but I contend that while those gifts are miraculous, they pale in comparison to those given quietly and without fanfare.
“The Genius of Generosity” is a testament to what can be done when we look for opportunities to serve. The book highlights 12 “bright ideas” of generosity that are simple take-aways for the reader….
- To be smart, spend carefully. To be wise save, regularly. To be genius, give extravagantly.
- When your money goes, your heart flows.
- Generosity is a gateway into intimacy with God.
- Stewardship is the path. Generosity is the adventure.
- Generous givers make God and His purposes their highest priority.
- Enjoy God’s generosity to you…. then share it with others.
- Faith increases giving, and giving increases faith.
- Those blessed by God become blessers for God.
- Generous living is joyful living.
- God measures generosity not by the size of the gift but by the size of the sacrifice.
- Generosity isn’t an act. It’s a way of life.
- True generosity doesn’t stop with possessions. It starts with them.
As I have sought out opportunities to be generous my life has found greater joy. Don’t get me wrong, I want great gifts for Christmas and I still ponder how much to spend on co-workers and Aunt Edith, but I know those challenges will work themselves out. My more important thoughts are on how I can generously affect someone’s life.
Ironically, the more you give, the more you want to give. As I seek ways to be in service, I find greater peace and joy in the simple gifts of generosity.
This Christmastime my thoughts don’t revolve around brightly colored bows or snowflakes, my greater joy will be found in service and generosity. Ironically, isn’t that what the first Christmas was all about anyway?
||About the author Chip Ingram is Senior Pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, CA and President of Living on the Edge, a teaching and discipleship ministry that provides practical help for everyday believers. He has a unique ability to communicate truth and winsomely challenge people to live out their faith. He has served as a pastor for more than 25 years and as president of Walk Thru the Bible. The author of 12 books, Chip reaches more than a million people each week on radio and television worldwide. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four adult children and six grandchildren.