Four Ways Generosity Changes You and Others
By Amanda DeWitt
As we start a new year, many of us feel the pressure to change something about our lives or ourselves. We set goals for a better exercise regime, to read a book every month, to take more family vacations, or to give back to those in need.
But what if we could do more? What if we could do something that would change our life — and the lives of many others?
Generosity. It sounds so simple — or maybe even churchy. Yet the intentional, consistent practice of giving can profoundly affect how we and others live. Here are four ways generosity can make a significant difference.
- It Loosens Our Grip
Have you ever held so tightly to something your fingers started to hurt? Sometimes without even realizing it, our grip goes from tight to tighter. We don’t even recognize it until we feel the ache.
We hold tightly to physical things — and sometimes we hold even tighter to the intangibles these things offer us. We love our job and the sense of accomplishment it gives. We cling to relationships and the sense of fulfillment they bring. We carefully watch our income because of the security it affords us. These are all good things meant to be cared for and cultivated. But when we grip them too tightly, they can sometimes turn from being helpful to harmful.
Generosity loosens our white-knuckled hands. It calls us to give away some of what we are holding onto in a gracious, grace-filled way. It summons us to sacrifice some of ourselves. It beckons us to see the bigger picture and how we play a role in expressing the kindness of Jesus to the world around us.
- It Changes Our Focus
If we want to open our hands, we must shift our focus. The things we hold dear are not meant to serve us only. They meant to bless others. We are simply managers, called to steward all that has been entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Timothy 6:17-19).
When we are generous, we are less likely to fixate on what we have and “must hold onto,” shifting our focus onto the One who gave it all. The people, resources, and opportunities around us are gifts from Him. We get to use them as we live out our role in His grand story of redemption and hope.
As we give we see our blessings differently — we see the world around us differently too. The needs of others are not problems to address but opportunities for growth and connection. We cannot serve everyone. But we can do something that will make a lasting impact!
- It Meets Tangible Needs
Around the world suffering remains at an all-time high. We watch it on the news and see it in our own neighborhoods. People urgently need food, clean water, shelter, and essential care.
We have the opportunity to meet these needs in real, tangible ways — both for those in our communities and for families around the world.
The gift of meals, for example, can be lifesaving for someone facing famine. The gift of clean water can protect the young from deadly diseases. The gift of tarps can shelter a family from dangerous winter temperatures. The gift of eyeglasses can allow someone to read the Bible again. The gift of school supplies can allow a child to learn and build a brighter future.
As we tangibly express the kindness of Jesus to those who are suffering, we may soon have opportunities to share the reason for our generosity and hope.
- It Creates Opportunities for Hope
In a world where most focus on getting, generosity gets noticed. People are often shocked when we give of our resources to serve them in some way.
The natural next question is, why?
Why would you give your time to serve someone most have forgotten? Why would you share your skillset with someone else in today’s competitive marketplace? Why would you give financially during an economic downturn?
In moments of curiosity, we can share about the One who has been so generous with us. He has given us everything we have. And He ultimately gives us hope.
As you plan your yearly goals or resolutions, consider adding generosity to your list. It might just change your life — and someone else’s too.
You Can Relieve Suffering Every Month!
Looking for a simple way to practice generosity? You are invited to join a special group of committed monthly donors called Unto Partners. Your partnership will help where most urgently needed to reach people living in the toughest places who are struggling to survive — and have never heard about Jesus.
Published January 30, 2024
Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.