Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”Acts 20:35b
A friend who regularly volunteers to serve meals to the needy illustrates the truth of Jesus’ teaching.
“It’s so rewarding to help,” she says, explaining that the time and hard work is worth it. “I think get more out of it than they do.”
It feels good to give, but we are blessed with so much more when we give generously. The act of giving truly blesses us by shaping our personalities and developing our character. That’s a truth affirmed by research. (Check out “The Science of Generosity” white paper from the University of California at Berkeley, or “The Science of Generosity Initiative” at Notre Dame University!)
Generous people tend to be the kind of good folk we want as friends and neighbors. We often think of generosity only in terms of financial giving, but generous people go way beyond that, embodying generosity with all they have and all they are. They are not merely generous, they are generous-hearted.
Anyone can develop a generous heart, or a more generous heart. Begin by deepening your relationship with God, seeking guidance and wisdom in daily prayer. Then simply begin to pour yourself out for the sake of others, giving generously as a spiritual exercise and discipline. Here are five action steps:
Give smiles. Smile at everyone you see. You may be surprised at how it changes your outlook.
Give nice words. Say something nice to everyone – family and friends, coworkers, parishioners, store clerks, folks in an elevator.
Give courtesy. Hold a door open for the person behind you; stop for pedestrians; let someone go ahead of you in line.
Give your time. Serve people face-to-face: tutor schoolchildren, serve meals, visit a shut-in, teach ESL, volunteer at a homeless shelter.
Give your resources: Slowly increase your giving to God’s ministry. Make tithing a long-term goal.
Jesus said it is more blessed to give than receive. When we give our time, talents and possessions, God blesses us by developing in us a generous heart.