Receiving and Giving

mother-1327186_960_720When I think about generosity (besides being grateful that our Father in heaven has generously given His most perfect gift to us, Jesus), I think about my mum.

I’ve learned a lot from my mum who exemplifies a generous lifestyle in many ways – financially, relationally and socially. During festivities, my mum and her sisters would cook up a storm to feed the family, relatives, friends and guests. Whenever there is conflict within the family, mum would very quickly forgive and be gracious. Socially, mum would always have an open heart to receive my friends, talk to them and genuinely interested about their life.

After years of observing my mum and my reflection on my personal journey in life thus far, I realized that there are many ways to show generosity. Having a spirit of generosity is something that is caught, not taught.

It addresses the matter of the heart. So, I’ve come up with the following actions that I think shows spirit of generosity:

  • Willing to compromise (as long as it’s not against Biblical principles)
  • Willing to contribute and share ideas (when working in a team)
  • Willing to be available to spend time to lend a listening ear to a friend
  • Willing to give time and space for conflict resolution instead of being aggressive
  • Willing to look past an offence quickly
  • Willing to give credit where credit is due
  • Being flexible/ adaptable
  • Being understanding (and intentional about it)
  • Focused on the bigger picture (not myopic) – weighing what has a better and positive impact in the long run
  • Not withholding praises and/or compliments

Of course, with Christmas season around the corner and the new year approaching, it’s always a good time to take a self-inventory. In Acts 20, the apostle Paul had an earnest talk (or speech rather) that he did his best in teaching the whole counsel of God (and did not withhold anything) and will continue on teaching even though there will be impending persecution. Despite the toil of teaching and spreading the gospel, he worked hard to provide for his own needs and those around him and he said:

“You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:24-35 ESV)

The spirit of generosity that the apostle Paul displayed is truly admirable – all for the cause of Christ.

I wish to however end this article (and this year) by quoting Ann Voskamp’s thoughts below. Maybe part of giving is first receiving the greatest gift from the ultimate Giver:

And the good things in life are not so much health, but holiness;

Not so much riches in the world, but relationship with God;

Not so much our plans, but His presence – and He withholds no good thing from us because the greatest things aren’t ever things.

No matter the barrenness you feel, you can always have as much Jesus as you want.

We’re ready for Christmas, not when we have all the gifts ready – but when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ.

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timmie-liewTimmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

The Many Forms of Generosity

christmas-2951662_1920There are days I struggle with not being able to be generous in the ways I want. When most people think of generosity, giving financially comes to mind. At this point in my life, unfortunately, I’m not able to extend much generosity in that regard. However, I’ve realized that there are a plethora of ways in which each of us can be generous. I’m seeing that each one of my gifts and talents are a way that I can be generous. No matter where you are at financially, you have been given many gifts which you specifically can offer.

Your specific God-given talents are intended for generosity. I recently discovered that I love singing in front of people. I can’t wait to be generous with my voice, whether in the choir, at nursing homes, or wherever else doors open. Your gift could be anything: cooking, website designing, working with children, or the gift of intercession. If you don’t know how to be generous with your gift or where to offer it, ask the Holy Spirit to open doors. Believe me, they will open!

Your specific situation in life also offers different opportunities for generosity. As a student and a working person, spare time isn’t on the top of my list. However, I can be generous in offering a listening ear to my fellow students. I can be generous in the prayers I offer for the countless needs of others at this time. I can also learn to be more generous in offering a “sweet spirit” to all those to whom I come in contact with. Though you may not have a lot of time, your season in life offers some way that you can be generous.

Don’t lament your lack of finances and make it an excuse as to why you can’t be generous. Generosity comes in so many forms. At different times in our lives, we all have different blessings that we can be generous with. Ask the Lord how you can be generous with your specific gifts and in the season you are in. Each day, we are granted opportunities to be generous and to bear fruit. In this season of celebrating the One who came to give it all, let’s seek how we can be more generous in giving of ourselves.


lianna-headshot Lianna

Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 28 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio.  I am a Master’s student studying to become a counselor.  My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.

December Challenge: Generosity

hand-2597795_1920I have a confession to make: Christmas isn’t exactly my most favorite time of year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love seeing glowing strands of colored light spiral streetlamps and draped around bushes. And sipping hot creamy drinks of sweet caffeine or chocolate from poinsettia red cups. Not to mention, listening to holiday music on the radio is a bonafide mood lifter.

But somewhere, in the past 10 years, my connotation of Christmas went from this lovely scene:giphy

to these not so lovely scenes:

giphy (1) giphy-downsized (1)

 

 

 

 

I’m sure my deteriorating holiday high has a lot to do with age. As an adult, the holiday I adored as a child became unfamiliar. I was suddenly mindful of prices and how much gifts cost and whether I should buy gifts for some people and none for others. Giving became disfigured. It had mutated from being euphoric to being exhausting.

But as I write this, I think about how much it cost God to give Jesus to His beloved but fallen world. He didn’t hesitate. He wasn’t too exhausted or overwhelmed to give Himself. And He didn’t give only to those He deemed worthy or meritorious. He gave His life and continues to offer the gift of new life to all. 

I think about that whenever I begin to feel weary this time of year. How the Lord gives so freely, richly, and without measure. And as His daughter, I should as well.

As we go into December and close out 2017, I challenge you to give to someone who can’t give back, an unlikely recipient. Maybe the next stop you get an Uber, thank the driver with a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Or give a thank you card to your waiter when you go out to eat. Call your local schools and ask to pay off overdue lunch accounts for kids.

We are all unlikely recipients of God’s love and grace. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s spread His love and grace generously this month and beyond.

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 33 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-).

In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin.

I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well.

I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!