My brother, who happens to be really smart (just don’t tell him I said that), likes to say that generosity is a way for us to connect outside of ourselves; and that sharing who we are removes us from the cage of our own self-centeredness. I recently had an opportunity to put his grand philosophical idea into practice.
Where I work my co-workers are a ‘second family’. Recently, a member of my ‘second family’ was having quadruple bypass surgery. He has a very large extended family who traveled to support him through a scary time. Naturally, this meant there would be extra expenses. Without help, this terrible experience would be more difficult. So our ‘second family’ took up a collection to help cover these additional expenses. Now normally my first instinct is to keep my money, MY money. But for a while I’ve been trying to be more generous.
I recently read the book Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson and it helped give me a fresh perspective on how I give to meet peoples’ needs. Jeff validated my belief that giving through a local church is not the only giving that pleases God or is worthwhile. He makes the argument that the gifts that most please God are the ones that are given with a generous heart (he calls them ‘plastic donuts’- see the book to find out why). My gifts don’t have to have qualifications anymore- they just have to have generosity at their core. With Jeff’s permission I started what I like to call my ‘generous giving slush fund’. I put in money every month and I’m free to give as the Spirit leads. If I didn’t have this ‘slush fund’ in place, I would not have been able to meet a very real need for a dear ‘second family’ member.
Speaking of family members…I was forced strongly encouraged by my father to read Plastic Donuts. But I’m so thankful he did. It led to a new freedom to give generously which has helped me connect outside myself. I’m learning that the reward of generosity is to share who I am and that is a “pleasing gift”.