I Wish I Could Be Generous
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
You will never have enough money to miraculously become generous.
Generosity is more than financial stability. It is a mindset. I thought I had disciplined myself into a mindset of financial stewardship, but I had mentally settled for becoming a thoughtless beggar.
It started out as financial responsibility. I carefully watched my finances, I didn't purchase anything unnecessary. This was really important because of my $5,000 salary as a part-time youth pastor. The problem came when I started expecting other people to provide for me.
My wake-up call came at our local diner. I regularly went out to breakfast before work with the Senior Saints crowd of my church. (If you don't have a Senior Saints crowd, that's code for the retired people!) It was always a great time of encouragement, and many times these retired saints were kind enough to pick up the tab for me. My whopping $3 order!
One morning as we were leaving, I noticed there was still a bill on the table. The man standing with me said, "That's not mine." So I picked it up. The order was close to $10! Not only had someone "failed" to pay for my food... They had also STOLEN my inexpensive check!! I was irritated.
Talk about entitled.
I said in my heart that I would never allow this to happen again... my sense of entitlement... I couldn't believe I had become such a self-righteous beggar... I started to observe generous people, and I've noticed generous people do a few things that I now strive to add to my lifestyle and my attitude.
Remember that all funds are God's funds. We are only stewards of HIS resources.Look for ways to financially bless people. A simple $5 gift card can be huge source of encouragement! It means, "I noticed you. I appreciate you. Thank you. Be blessed."
Find less expensive options for your meetings. You don't have to eat a meal in order to have a God-ordained appointment! I would rather go to a coffee shop anyway.
Set a precedent. You may not be able to take your leaders or students out regularly. My mentor taught me to say, "First time, I'm paying! You can pay for yourself next time." This frees your guests from feeling like they need to pay you back. It's not really generosity if you expect them to return the favor.
Don't use your church account. I know, now I'm meddling with your personal 'business". But is it really ministry — is it really generosity — if it's not coming from your own pocket? Or is it more like, well," business"?
And here's the truth - ministry survives off the generosity of other people. Regardless of our professional or financial situation, generosity is not optional for Christ-followers. As leaders, how can we expect those whom we serve to operate at a different level of generosity than what we ourselves submit to? How can we expect our students to develop a practice that we are not modeling?
Perhaps you're at a organization that systemically is just not generous. Maybe it's our duty as leaders to share our resources so that others can see how generosity is accomplished.
Maybe you belong to a ministry network and the other churches have bigger budgets with greater resources and you think they should be picking up the tab or sharing their resources with you. Stop this kind of me-centered thinking! I am a firm believer that where you are bothered the most may be were God is calling you to ACT. Maybe God is calling YOU to be a generous catalyst to lead your community into acting more like Jesus.
Regardless of your situation, generosity is a powerful indicator of humble leadership, and it is one more area where we can be effective reflections of Jesus Christ. Simply put, our comfort with being generous is a mirror of our recognition of the One who has showed us undeserved favor.
Wayne Morgan is the Northeast Regional Coordinator for NNYM. Originally posted at www.nnym.org/blog