more than we need

End with less than you started.

That’s the plan for this week.

Less money, less stuff, less something.

While this exercise has the great side effect of begin generous and hopeful that generosity is directed at people in need those aren’t the final goals. At time being generous is all we’re trying to do. Just find ways to make generosity a part of our lives. Sometimes we are finding ways to connect with the marginalized and use our resources to support those who need support.

But this is actually about getting our heads in the right space.

All month we are going to be looking at challenges that centre our priorities. Activities that slowly break down the hold that things in our lives have on us. This week it’s our possessions. It’s our accumulation. It’s our stuff.

Our stuff has a hold on must of us that we don’t even notice. We accumulate and gain as much as we can. It’s money, it’s clothes, it’s whatever.

Our stuff is used to define us. Our stuff gives us security. Our stuff gives us status.

This week we take control of our stuff and say “what do I need and what can I bless someone with.”

Advertisements

fair, earned and the choice of generosity

It wasn’t going to be fair.

Well I suppose it had the potential to not be fair.

I was out with my volleyball team after our game. We had gone out the week prior and got the split of the bill wrong. Nothing big, I needed to have left another $3 or $4. Instead of giving over the money this week I just covered the beer of the guy I owed the money too.

If you don’t drink you may not be aware that $3 does not get you a beer.

He said, like most would “Thanks, I got it next time.”

Perfect!

It all worked out. I was short her covered. I pay more this week and next time he’ll make up the difference.

But what if it doesn’t happen?

Or if next week he gets drinks, then I get drinks, then he gets drinks, then I get drinks, then our season is over. When will I get back the drinks I’m owed?

Because my mind does crazy things like that process I just described I need to be intentional. This week I suggested you be generous once a day. I suggested you try to pick someone who hasn’t earned it. This case isn’t’ a great example because I actually owed him money.

But it shows why I need intentionality.

Without it my mind wanders in to fairness.

Without a decision to just be generous I start to think about how fair or unfair what I’m doing might be. I start to worry that he may not follow through next week or that I’ll end up on the short end of the deal at the end.

I start to think about me.

Maybe you’re not the same. Maybe you’re really good a just keeping others first.

I find it so easy to just slip back to me getting what I need. Me getting what I think I have earned or deserve.

So what do I do?

I should probably just buy again next time. I should just stop thinking about me getting what I deserve and being the generous person I keep telling you I want to be.

But the idea is the easy part. The hard part comes when I need to put down more money next week while my mind tells me I’m actually owed something.

generous with your generosity

I hope you’re trying to put some of these weekly challenges into your everyday life. They are a terrific way to get your mind and you actions in line with this life of compassion. It just forces you to see the world a little different and that’s a good thing.

This week I’m asking you to be generous once a day.

Originally I wanted to say “be generous one a day to someone who you think doesn’t deserve it” but there were some problems with that.

What if someone you know was generous with you? Does that mean they think you don’t deserve it? How do you know if someone does or doesn’t’ deserve generosity?

It got a little messy.

There was however a reason I started with it worded that way.

Sometimes we hold back our generosity or are generosity is based on merit.

That person is trying so hard we should give them a hand.

Well I’m not going to help someone who isn’t even trying to help themselves.

They have lots, they don’t need me.

That person is so desperate I need to help them.

We test the validity of the request. We want to make sure they are deserving of our help. That they have earned our generosity somehow.

I didn’t want you to do that. I want you to be obedient to God’s call to be generous with all we have.

So once a day when the opportunity is presented we are just generous. It’s not about someone earning it or deserving it, it’s about grace. The chance to be generous is there and we just take it. We don’t hold back our generosity but we are generous with our generosity.

I know it’s strange to ask you to generous with your generosity but it’s true. We can be really strange about our generosity. Who can and can’t get it. Who does and doesn’t’ deserve it.

This week is simple.

Just be generous. No strings, no earning, no deserving, just generosity.