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.

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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!

 

Dig It Up

shovel

My husband loves to sing. He’ll croon along with a jingle during a commercial break. Or duet with a singer on the car radio.  Or hum a Disney tune while working on his computer.  He always fills our house and makes me smile with his adorable melodies.

His adorable off-key melodies.

Because as much as my husband loves to sing, he can’t and he knows it.  (Disclosure: I actually love his voice, tone deafness and all, but he informs me that I have biased eardrums.) He said if he had the ability to sing well, to gracefully and expertly harmonize, to vocalize like an old Bruno Mars or a new Luther Vandross, he’d sing everywhere at all times. Nothing on Earth would keep him from using his gift.

But sometimes, we do fail to use our God given gifts wisely. It’s not that we squander them on meaningless activity. Or that we spread their influence too wide, eventually depleting their effectiveness. What we end up doing is the worst thing possible.

We bury our gifts and don’t use them at all.

“But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.… Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that You are a hard man, harvesting where You have not sown and gathering where You have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid Your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to You.’” –Matthew 25:18,24- 25 (NIV)

God has poured into each of us a startling variety of skills, passions, sensitivities, and abilities for His purpose.  And He doesn’t want them back in mint condition or with blankets of dust from inactivity. They’re to be shared and used for encouragement, for comfort, for worship, and for help.  We are to spread our gifts lavishly and without fear.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”-Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

Proper stewardship of what God has gifted you to do requires responsibility and action. Have you buried or hidden something that the Lord has given you? Today is a good day to dig it up.

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 32 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!