I have been doing a series “Make That Break That” about habits that we need to develop and habits that we need to get rid of in order to live with unlimited possibilities. One of the bad habits we should break is being selfish and self-centered, and the best way to do that is to form the habit of being generous.
I learned a long time ago that generosity is the cure for greed. Generosity makes one’s soul truly beautiful. God is generous and all those who wish to be like him must learn to be generous. I once heard someone say that when we give, we are more like God than at any other time.
You know when something is a habit when you actually miss it if you’re not doing it. We can and should form a habit of being generous. That means that we must choose to do more than we would have to do and always do as much as we possibly can. We should never be the type of person who only does what they absolutely have to. Some even do this little and still murmur and complain.
We should give generously with no expectation of the person returning the favor. Now, God promised to bless and reward the generous person so we expect God to fulfill His promise. But we do not look to collect from the person we give to. We lean on God to take care of that.
I don’t believe we are truly generous unless we do what we do with a willing heart. Giving may begin as a discipline, but it should develop into a desire. We can learn to give for the sheer joy we find in doing it.
A spirit of generosity causes a person to give even when it seems unreasonable to do so. The Apostle Paul speaks of the generosity of the church of Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8:2-3. Just reading about these people makes me admire them and want to be like them. We are drawn to generous people and we instinctively don’t want to be in the presence of stingy people for very long. Greed causes a person to never be satisfied or appreciative for very long no matter how much they have. Greed steals the life of the greedy person because he can never be content.
God has either created, or given us the ability to create, many beautiful and needful things and I believe he wants his children to enjoy them. But he wants us to enjoy them with the right attitude. That attitude should be one of gratitude, contentment and a willingness to be generous to others. I try not to have anything in my life that I would not give away if God asked me to. If something is hard to give away it has mastered me instead of me mastering it.
So the best way I know to fight against the bad habit of greed is to develop a good habit of generosity. God‘s word instructs us to not even associate with anyone who is known to be guilty of greed. Why would He say that? I believe it is because greed is a wicked spirit and God doesn’t want us to be affected by it. God wants us to grow in generosity not in greed. If you want to be a generous person, make friends with other generous people. Watch how they live and learn from their example
Now people who are not in the habit of being generous may have to force themselves to be generous for a period of time, but I can assure you that after a while they will become addicted to it. There is nothing more fun to do with money than give it away. Money is like manure … spread it around and it does good but store it up and it starts to stink. Make a decision to be more of a blessing to others and start looking for opportunities to be generous. Learn to be generous and teach it to other people.
Let me quickly dispel a misunderstanding. You can be a tither and still be stingy. I have known people like this. They understood the principle of tithing, but it wasn’t in their heart to give… and they never had abundance. Another myth to put down, you do not have to have a lot of money to be generous. Generosity can be practiced no matter how much or how little you have. If you share what you have with others, you are a generous person.
Be a conduit. Allow good things to flow out from you to others. Be a river, not a pond. When blessings flow to you, that is the time to press in and be a blessing to others more than ever. Commit to generosity, no matter what. Do you possess your possessions or do your possessions possess you? Are you able to use what you have to be a blessing? God is a giver and if we want to enjoy life and fulfill our purpose, then we must become givers also.
If you know in your heart that you’re not a generous person don’t feel guilty… But start today by developing a habit of being generous.Let me make it practical for you. Make a plan. Every day think about people you can bless and then what way you can bless them. The more you think of others, the less time you will have to be concentrating on yourself and your own problems. I’ve discovered over the years… the less I think about myself the happier I am.
If you don’t know what the person needs then begin listening to them and it won’t be long before you will hear them mention something they are lacking. They may need encouragement. They may need help with something. Maybe you have something they could use. There are always people who are desperately in need or maybe would be blessed mightily by something we own but don’t use. My motto is use it or lose it. Bonus: Never sell when you’re in a position to sow. Give it away and let God take care of you.
Ask God to show you ways that you can bless people. The more generous you become the more you will be blessed in your own life. Proverbs says the world of the generous gets larger and larger. We cannot outgive God. He said if we give it will come back to us, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing (Luke 6:38).
Generosity is not only giving ourselves, our money, our things. It also involves how we treat people. Generous spirited people will be patient with the weaknesses of others. They are quick to forgive and slow to get angry.
We are creatures of habit, but bad habits can be broken and replaced with good habits. We can form the habit of being a generous person who continually reaches out to others to make their lives better. By doing so, the bad habits we previously had will find no place to live.