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HOW DAILY GIVING CAN CHANGE

YOUR LIFE AND TRANSFORM THE WORLD

 

The Generosity Habit 

Generosity is… Creative, Beautiful, Wise, Hopeful, Possible! (Opening Sequence)

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Many years ago, a friend challenged me to become more intentional about generosity and it completely changed my life. Generosity is life-changing. Over the next 40 days we are going to explore the astounding generosity of God, learn how to unleash the power and goodness of generosity in our own lives, get in touch with the best of our humanity, and discover how to live profoundly meaningful lives. 

 

When we are generous, regardless of how we express that generosity, what we are really saying to people is: “I see you. I hear you. You matter. I am with you. I care.”

 

So, what is The Generosity Habit? The Generosity Habit is simple: Give something away every day. 

 

Five words that will change your life forever. Give something away every day. It doesn’t need to be money or things. In fact, the philosophy behind the generosity habit rests on this singular truth: You don’t need money or material possessions to live a life of staggering generosity. 

 

Let me say that again: You don’t need money or material possessions to live a life of staggering generosity. Over the next forty days we are going to discover dozens of creative ways to be generous that do not involve money or things. 

 

On the other hand, many of us have too many things, and God might be calling you to give away a material possession every day. So, this may be a chance to declutter your life, your basement, your garage, and your soul at the same time. 

 

But by the time we are done you should be absolutely convinced of one thing: Everyone can live a life of staggering generosity, because it is not dependent on how much money or how many things we have. 

 

You may be wondering why I have chosen to focus on generosity at this time. We live in challenging times. There is so much division and confusion, people are discouraged. I believe that at a time like this the world needs what I call a 100% issue. A 100% issue is something everyone can agree on. Keep in mind we live in an age where there is almost nothing everyone can agree on. But I believe we can all agree that generosity is good, and that if we all became a little more generous the world would be a better place, and amazing things would happen. Generosity is a 100% issue in a divided world.

 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Express your appreciation. There are 8 billion people on the planet, and I suspect about 7.9 billion go to bed every night starving to be appreciated. It’s a horrible thing to feel unappreciated. 

 

Let’s do something about that today. Tell someone how much you appreciate them. 

Every expression of generosity announces boldly, “I see you. I hear you. You matter. I am with you. I care.” Expressing our appreciation is a perfect example. 

 

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid,” was Goethe’s observation. Be bold with your generosity. Don’t just dabble in generosity, live a life of staggering generosity. Astonish people with your generosity. 

 

People are tired and overwhelmed and frustrated, because they are constantly being bombarded with all the negative and hurtful things happening in our world. They are hungry for hope and searching for meaning. Let’s astonish them with the goodness of generosity. 

 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self, live a life of staggering generosity!

 

What Is God Like?

 

Generosity is… Visionary, Encouraging, Courageous, Optimistic, Divine!

 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

 

Sometimes I wonder, what is God really like? We spend a lot of time talking about God and Church, religion and spirituality, but sometimes all this talk can get in the way of us really getting to know God. Have you ever wondered what God is really like? How would you describe God? Finish this sentence: God is . . . 

For most people, the instinctive answer is love. “God is love.” This is how John’s Gospel finishes the “God is . . .” sentence (John 4:8). There is an infinite number of endings to the sentence. God is creative, astounding, patient, uplifting, hopeful, encouraging, eternal, inspiring, omnipotent, omnipresent, good, transcendent, just, merciful, benevolent, fascinating … 

And God is generous. The evidence of God’s generosity is everywhere, all around us and deep within us. 

At every turn we encounter the immensity of God’s generosity. Creation is generous. Free will is generous. Life is generous. Love is generous. The generosity of God is awesome and abundant. 

You were created in the image of God. This is one of the first things we discover about ourselves in the Bible (Genesis 1:27). I saw a sign the other day that read: “You were created in the image of God. Act like it.” It made me smile. I thought it was clever, profound, and challenging. 

God is generous and you were made in the image of God. How are you going to express your generosity today? 

One of the most impactful and beautiful expressions of generosity is encouragement. I have always thought of the Holy Spirit as the Great Encourager. And as a father, I believe one of my key responsibilities is to encourage my children. We all thrive when we are authentically encouraged. 

But the thing is, we all need encouragement in order to move beyond today’s obstacles and flourish. 

So, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Go out of your way to encourage someone today. It could be someone you know and love, it could be a stranger. Encouraging others is a beautiful expression of generosity and a powerful way to allow the image of God to shine in and through you. 

 

Your encouragement is an abundant resource. You could spend all day giving it away, and your supply wouldn’t be even slightly diminished at the end of the day. 

 

Encouraging others is another way of being generous that doesn’t require money or possessions, proving again that each and every single one of us can live a staggeringly generous life. 

 

Make today a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self, live a life of staggering generosity!

 

You're at Your Best When...

 

Generosity is… Enchanting, Ethical, Spiritual, Virtuous, Healthy!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

You’re at your best when you’re generous. Generosity animates us, literally breathes life into us, fills us with hope and enthusiasm. It brings out the best in human beings. Generosity ennobles us in a world where so many things debase us, and it is wonderfully contagious. 

We aren’t at our best when we are selfish and stingy. We are at our best when we are lavishing goodness on others, we are at our best when we are generous. 

So, get out there and unleash the genius of generosity in your circle of influence. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Catch someone doing something right. So much of our culture is focused on catching people making mistakes. This worldview destroys trust. Children thrive on positive reinforcement, but the truth is we all need positive reinforcement to thrive. 

The world seems obsessed with catching people at their worst. The media and social media and politics all focus too much on the worst in people. This influences us all. The influence I see it having is that people are trapped in the shame of the worst thing they ever did. But you are more than the worst thing you’ve ever done. 

Let’s catch someone doing something right today and praise them for it, whether it is fabulous service in a restaurant or a great flight attendant, a teacher that goes above and beyond or an exceptional nurse in the emergency room. Let’s delight in people doing what they do every day the best they can. 

It’s time we started catching people at their best.

You’re at your best when you’re generous. So, don’t just dabble in generosity, live a life of staggering generosity. Astonish people with the boldness of your generosity. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self!

 

Generosity Is Creative

Generosity is… Simple, Bold, Intentional, Life-Giving, Creative!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Human beings are astoundingly creative. One of the great deceptions is the idea that some people are creative, and others are not. This is pure nonsense. Everyone is creative. Human beings are by their very nature creative. Some people have explored and developed their creativity, and other people haven’t, usually because someone told them when they were relatively young that they were not creative people. 

You are a creative person. Generosity is proof that every person is capable of being fantastically creative. Once we decide to live an intentionally generous life, we come up with creative ways to be generous. 

Generosity is wildly creative. It is always looking for new and interesting, kind, loving, and thoughtful ways to manifest. Listen to the spirit of generosity within you. Allow it to lead you. Generosity is one of the most creative forces within you.

Every day in this series we are exploring new and creative ways to be generous. You have probably never considered some of these as acts of generosity, but they are. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Get creative with your generosity today… make it personal and powerful. Call someone just to say hello, tip like you’ve never tipped before, ask the people you love about their hopes and dreams, give someone an unexpected gift, compliment someone who least expects it, save a life by donating blood, smile generously, give someone a life-changing book, be a generous lover, make someone’s day, thank someone for influencing your life, be happy for others when good things happen for them, tell someone you love having them in your life! 

 

Unleash the creativity of your generosity today and take note of how it makes you feel. Does it energize you, fill you with enthusiasm for life, make you feel more fully alive? I think you’ll discover it does. 

 

So, have a great day, and don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Generosity in Action

 

Generosity is… Thoughtful, Amazing, Humanizing, Genius, Proactive!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity is not passive. It’s alive and dynamic, proactive, always looking for ways to express itself. When I ask people to tell me about the most generous person they know, this is the type of thing they say, “She is always looking for opportunities to be generous.” 

The most generous people I know are not just thoughtful and generous with their money and things. They are generous in every way imaginable. This all-around generosity makes them much loved by everyone who knows them and a beacon of God’s love in their community. Their generosity is proactive. They don’t wait to be asked. 

Here’s an example of creative, proactive generosity. Life-changing generosity. 

Anastasia Petrov is a Russian immigrant and a nurse. “I love America,” she says to me with her sixty-two-year-old smile. A few years ago, one of the nurses she works with at the hospital got cancer and had to take some time off work. Anastasia didn’t know her very well, but she knew that the other nurse had three kids and that she needed to work. Anastasia knew this woman would be out of sick days very quickly and one day at lunch Anastasia heard some of the other nurses talking about doing one of those online funding projects to help out. 

“We can do better than that!” Anastasia said to her colleagues. They all turned and stared at her; you see, Anastasia was a quiet woman. She was a listener. Plenty of lunch breaks would pass without her saying a single word. “What do you mean?” one of her colleagues asked her. “Everyone loves Jane [the sick nurse]. She is always doing kind things for people. We all have three twelve-hour shifts a week; all we need to do is find three nurses to volunteer an extra shift each week and Jane can keep getting paid until she is well and can come back to work.” 

The other nurses stared at her with astonishment and admiration. “I’ll organize the schedule,” Anastasia added. And so she did. Each week while Jane was out of work, Anastasia found three nurses to do an extra shift so that Jane could continue to be paid her full salary. 

I learned about this from Sophia, another nurse at the hospital. “How long was Jane off work?” I asked. “Three years!” Sophia replied with a smile. “Anastasia is amazing,” she continued. 

This was life-changing generosity. It was creative and proactive.

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Make someone’s day! Go out of your way to do something to make someone’s day today. You don’t need me to tell you what to do. The creative genius of generosity is alive and well within you. Seek its counsel and follow where the spirit of generosity leads you. It doesn’t have to be something spectacular. Small and simple acts of generosity can make people’s day.

Make today an amazing day, and don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

The Scope of Generosity

 

Generosity is… Creative, Beautiful, Wise, Hopeful, Possible!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity improves every situation, and every situation is an opportunity to be generous. There are so many ways to be generous, and so, there is no limit to the scope of our generosity. 

One of my passions is reading biographies. I love taking in the whole arc of a person’s life. I find it helps me to gain perspective on the highs and lows of my own life. 

I was reading a biography of Robert Redford recently, and the author had interviewed many of the actors who had worked with Redford over the course of his career, both as an actor and director. One of the actors described Redford as a generous director. I thought that was an interesting description. The actor went on to explain that most directors just tell you how they want a scene done and then expect you to do it that way. “But Redford would ask you to do it the way he envisioned it, and then he would say, ‘OK, now let’s do another take and try it your own way.’ It was a very generous way of directing.” 

I found that fascinating. There is a way to be generous in everything we do. 

When I reflect on the most generous people I know, I discover their generosity manifests itself in different ways every day. Their generosity in the traditional ways is to be expected. They are generous with their time and talent, with their money and possessions, but their generosity goes way beyond these commonly defined areas. It is the scope of their generosity that is particularly inspiring to me. 

So, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

What is it that you know more about than anything else in the world? Whatever it is, don’t belittle your expertise, and don’t keep it to yourself. Find a way to teach your expertise to someone else. Share it with the world. There is someone right now who needs you to teach them what you have spent a lifetime learning. 

 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Life to the Fullest

 

Generosity is… Visionary, Encouraging, Courageous, Optimistic, Abundant!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity is a way to live life to the fullest. People who are living life to the fullest always have two things in common: they believe the future can be better than the past, and they believe they can do something today to bring about that better future. These are both expressions of hope, encouragement, empowerment, and personal responsibility.

Generosity is intrinsically hopeful. It encourages and empowers us to participate in the unfolding story of humanity. It reminds us that we can heal the past, soothe the present, and influence the future. 

So, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Hug generously. The thing about generosity is that it can be applied to almost everything. Our generosity or lack of generosity is apparent in almost everything we do. We have all given and received generous hugs and stingy hugs. Give someone a generous hug today. 

Live life to the fullest today. Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self!

 

What Is Generosity

Generosity is… Enchanting, Ethical, Spiritual, Virtuous, Healthy!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity is the virtue of giving plentifully. It is first and foremost a disposition of the heart. Any act of generosity is an external manifestation of the invisible internal reality. It isn’t merely something we do; it is an essential characteristic of who we are. Generosity is a way of life. 

One of the biggest obstacles to igniting a generosity movement in our culture today is the perception that generosity is something financially wealthy people do. Generosity isn’t about billionaires giving billions. It isn’t elitist. Generosity is for everyone. It is each person—you and me—giving every day, according to our gifts and means. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Ask someone what their dreams are and do something, however small, to help them accomplish one of their dreams. We all need people to help us fulfill the dreams that have been placed in our hearts. 

The ability to dream is one of the most incredible abilities God has endowed human beings with. Don’t waste your ability to dream. 

Today is a day to dream. Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Who Is Really in Need?

 

Generosity is… Simple, Bold, Intentional, Life-Giving, Mindful!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

The question I would like us to ponder today is: Who is really in need? 

One of the most interesting things about generosity is that I have a much greater need to give than other people need to receive. It may seem counter-intuitive, even ridiculous at first, but it is true. 

My need to give is much greater than their need to receive. The world is full of people whose need to receive is desperate. It is easy to make the mistake of thinking they are most in need. Their need to receive is obvious, but our need to give is hidden. And as desperate as their need to receive appears, our need to give is greater. We may think we are reaching down to give them a hand up, but perhaps the very opposite is the truth. 

The heart of generosity is humility. Focus on your need to give, not their need to receive. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Stand up for someone who is being treated unjustly. Injustice is all around us and takes many forms. It thrives when men and women of goodwill notice it, but choose not to get involved because it is inconvenient. There is a lot of talk about bullying in school, but it seems in almost every environment people are bullied today. It’s a horrible thing to see the way bullying can affect a child, now and for the rest of their life. It is no less degrading and dehumanizing to see an adult bullied. 

So next time you encounter a situation like this, stand up for someone who is being treated unjustly.

Have a great day, and don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Two Types of Generosity

 

Generosity is… Thoughtful, Amazing, Humanizing, Proactive, Dynamic!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

The Jewish tradition distinguishes between two types of generosity. The first is the giving that manifests when your heart is moved and your hand rushes to your pocket to give. This generosity is not the result of obligation, guilt, or rational thought, but is caused by the spirit of generosity stirring within you. The second type of giving Jewish spirituality identifies is obligated giving. Giving that is required of us regardless of whether or not our hearts are moved, such as tithing and other giving born from our commitments. 

There are two important connections between these two types of giving that I would like to mention here. The first is that our spontaneous generosity should never sacrifice our ability to fulfill our commitments. The second is that we should keep a close eye on the feelings each type of giving generates. Some of the best conversations I have with my children are around feelings. I have told them, over and over again, “Feelings are messengers.” And when something happens in their lives, we are able to talk about what message different feelings might be delivering. Your feelings around generosity are messengers too, and worth exploring. 

Now, let’s take a look at today’s generosity habit. 

Be generous with your affection. Let your affection flow. It’s easy to hold back affection. Today, let the spontaneity of your affection shine. Smile. And smile generously. You know what I mean. There is the polite smile and there is a look-them-in-the-eyes-and-make-their-day smile. It’s amazing how a generous smile can literally lift people’s spirits. Smiling is one of the simplest ways to express affection… Let your affection flow generously today. 

Make today a great day, and don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

 

Generosity Is Contagious 

 

Generosity is… Creative, Beautiful, Wise, Hopeful, Contagious!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity is contagious. One of the most amazing things to watch is the domino effect generosity sets off. Any act of generosity may be focused on a particular recipient, but the ripple effect reaches much farther than any of us can see. The good we do lives on forever, in other people, in other places, in other times. Generosity lives on forever. 

Generosity is beautifully contagious. When one person acts generously, it inspires both the recipients and observers of that generosity to be generous toward others later. Research shows that generosity often spreads by three degrees—from person-to-person to person-to-person. That means that one simple act of generosity can impact dozens or even hundreds of people, most of whom you do not know and will never meet. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Compliment a stranger. Not for how they look or something they own. Focus on character rather than appearance. Compliment their patience, hard work, perseverance, awareness, kindness, commitment, thoughtfulness…  Make eye contact. Expect nothing in return. Just compliment someone generously.

Just your desire to generously compliment someone today will make it a great day, for you and others, so don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Embrace Your Nobility

 

Generosity is… Wise, Enchanting, Simple, Transformational, Noble!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

People often write to me expressing a desire to live more meaningful lives. It is a yearning that we all experience in different seasons of life. When I write back, this is what I say, “If you want to unleash an endless stream of fulfillment and satisfaction in your life, wake up every morning and try to be more generous today than you were yesterday. A meaningful life is a generous life.” 

Generosity is a path that will lead you back to the best of your humanity. The world needs the nobility of your humanity at this very moment. We have multiplied and perfected ways of dehumanizing people. We have woven them into the fabric of society so that many people don’t even realize they are being dehumanized. We have brainwashed others into believing that they have chosen this dehumanized state. 

It is time to unleash a massive re-humanization effort. Generosity is by its very nature rehumanizing, because it announces to the world: “I see you. I hear you. I am with you. I care.” 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Next time you are at a gathering, focus your emotional intelligence on identifying the person in the room who is hurting the most, or the person who least wants to be there. Go out of your way to spend time with that person and lift his or her spirits. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

The Generosity of Jesus

Generosity is… Beautiful, Thoughtful, Creative, Ennobling, Divine!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity says… “I see you. I hear you. You matter. I am with you. I care.” Every time Jesus encountered someone this is what his words and actions communicated.

Every scene in the Gospels is an expression of Jesus’ generosity. Every scene in Jesus’ life has a lesson about generosity. Jesus is the astounding embodiment of Divine generosity.

I love reading and rereading the Gospels. Sometimes I will read the Gospels with one theme in mind. If you read the Gospels with a single theme like patience, perseverance, or generosity in mind, it’s amazing what you discover that you have never noticed before.

Generosity is one of the most significant themes in the Gospels. All the great figures that emerge in the Gospels are generous. Sure, you have the Widow’s Mite and other obvious acts of generosity. But you find generosity in every great Gospel figure. Mary’s response to God when the angel appeared to her was an incredible act of faith, surrender, and generosity. The Magi, traveling from afar with gifts for the infant Jesus, modelled heroic generosity. The first twelve leaving everything to follow Jesus was incredibly generous. And then there is Jesus himself. His first miracle in Cana was not a miracle of need; it was a miracle of abundance and generosity. Throughout his life he served people by teaching them, feeding them, healing them, providing spiritual leadership, and comforting them. Finally, in his suffering and death on the cross, he laid down his life for us in the ultimate act of generosity. The Gospels are a story about the triumph of generosity. 

Generosity is at the heart of the Christian life, just as it is at the heart of the Gospel. For it is often through our generosity that we are able to bring the love of God to life for others in very real and tangible ways. God is by his very nature generous. God wants to convince us of his generosity, and in turn, wants us to live generous lives. 

 

But the world doesn’t see it that way. Not surprisingly, again we stumble here upon the great divide between the way of life today’s culture proposes and the life God invites us to live. While God is inviting us to a joyful life of selfless generosity, the world is trying to seduce us into an all-encompassing selfishness. Consider some of the differences: 

God invites us to a life of gratitude while the world fosters discontent. God proposes trust; the world arouses fear. God promotes giving; the world promotes getting. God invites us to co- operate with his providence while the world rallies behind the delusion of total self- determinism. God gently proposes stewardship while the world aggressively touts ownership. The world encourages entitlement, when in reality everything is a gift from God. God invites us to look out for our neighbor; the world tells us to look out for ourselves. God operates out of abundance; the world from a place of scarcity. God created us out of generosity to live generous lives; the world encourages us to live small, scared, selfish lives.

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Pray. Pray for someone like you have never prayed for anyone ever before. Praying for others is a beautiful act of generosity. We can all do it, but so very few of us do it enough.

Make today an amazing day, and don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Generosity Begins with Gratitude

 

Generosity is… Hopeful, Courageous, Optimistic, Possible, Grateful!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Whenever I meet someone who is fabulously generous, I ask them how generosity found its way into their lives. They usually talk about two things: how blessed they are, and how they have been the recipients of incredible generosity. They are strikingly grateful, and it becomes apparent just by talking to them, that their gratitude and generosity are inseparably linked.

Generosity begins with gratitude. Are we grateful for all the blessings God has poured out upon us? 

They have an overwhelming sense that their lives have been blessed. When I asked them to talk to me about the blessings that inspired this gratitude, they do not speak about extraordinary things. In fact, I rarely hear anything that suggests these people were any more blessed than others. But they recognize their blessings. They take time regularly to identify the people, opportunities, possessions, and experiences they are grateful for. It is humbling to hear them speak. I realize that I have so much to be grateful for, but too often I take these blessings for granted or simply fail to reflect upon them. Am I a grateful person? There are days when I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, but there are other days when it is so easy to slip out of that state of gratitude.

We are at our best when we are grateful. One of the leading indicators of my own spiritual health is whether or not I am in a place of gratitude. I have observed this time and time again. When I get in a bad mood or become overwhelmed by a situation, I have usually lost the perspective of gratitude. Next time you are in a bad mood ask yourself if you are grateful. It is impossible to be grateful and be in a bad mood. It is when we step away from gratitude that we become irritable, restless, and discontented. 

The world draws us into a conversation about all that we don’t have, but God invites us into a conversation about all that we do have. Which of those conversations are you engaging today?

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Give someone a foot massage. Human touch is critical to human flourishing. Babies can actually die from lack of human touch. When you know someone is exhausted at the end of a long day, offer to give that person a foot massage. Massaging the feet provides many physical and emotional benefits, but it is especially powerful at relieving stress and anxiety. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

The World Needs Changing

 

Generosity is… Astonishing, Profoundly Human, Uplifting, Virtuous, Transformational!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Everyone knows the world is in need of profound change. We just cannot seem to agree on the best way to go about that. What is most likely to usher in a new era? Politics, education, law, economics, technology, or something else? 

It depends largely on what we are trying to accomplish. The goal of all these aspects of society should be human flourishing, but our unbridled quest for more, bigger, faster, and better, seems to have blinded us to how change either ennobles or debases people. 

Are you flourishing? Is your neighbor flourishing? Is our nation flourishing? Is the human family flourishing?

The next big leap for humanity will come from rediscovering what it means to be authentically human and embracing the dignity and nobility of generosity. It is the very best of our humanity that the world desperately needs now—and generosity brings out the best in people. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Be an ambassador of hope. There is enough gloom and doom in this world. Let your presence and words be filled with hope and encouragement. We all need hope. Sometimes we are aware of this truth, and at other times we are oblivious. But when life strikes a blow and our hope fades, we become intimately aware of how important hope is to our well-being. Someone close to you needs a little hope today. Find that person and be an ambassador of hope. Take an interest. When we go out of our way to express our love and care we increase that person’s hope, and nobody can live without hope.

 

Knowing that we are not alone increases hope. Remind someone today that while there are ups and downs, life is a wonderful gift. Offer to help. Everyone is carrying a heavy burden. Most people don’t expect you to make their life easy, but everyone wishes life could be just a bit easier on days when they are long on troubles and short on hope. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self, be an ambassador of hope!

 

The Future

Generosity is… Life-Giving, Intelligent, Visionary, Amazing, Profoundly Human!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Let me make a prediction about the future. The future will be profoundly human, or not at all. That isn’t a dark prediction. It is simply an observation. If we do not learn to ennoble each other there will be no future. It is our humanity that will change the world next: our generosity, our compassion, our love, patience, discipline, gentleness, forgiveness, empathy, and friendship. Not technology or politics or even education. 

We cannot go on debasing ourselves and each other, so often, and in so many ways, and not expect catastrophic destruction. 

It’s time to get in touch with the best parts of our humanity. Generosity is beautifully human. It is at the core of our humanity. It is uniquely human and, at the same time, a reflection of the Divine. Every act of generosity ennobles everyone involved, and each act of generosity changes the course of someone’s life, and therefore, the unfolding of human history. 

It’s time to embrace the power and nobility of generosity and go out and change the world! 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Be generous with your time. When you are with people, pay attention to their desire to continue the conversation or draw the conversation to an end. People often have one more thing they would like to discuss, but they are hesitant to raise it. It is sometimes the most important matter. Choose a situation, meeting, or conversation today and be lavish with your time. Listen deeply to people. Set aside your thoughts, ideas, and agenda, and really listen to what the other person is saying to you. Listening is the most important communication skill. More than 45% of our time communicating is spent listening. 9% writing. 16% percent reading. 30% percent speaking. Most people wish the people close to them were better listeners, so become a generous listener. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Regrets

Generosity is… Noble, Grateful, Intentional, Bold, You! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

There is a scene toward the end of Schindler’s List that always make my eyes fill with tears. The war is over, and Oskar Schindler and his wife are fleeing. Having saved so many Polish Jews from certain death, he is now hunted himself. He essentially purchased his workers from corrupt Nazi officers under the guise of needing them to work in his new factory, but in truth he was buying them in order to save their lives. 

In the scene, Schindler is walking toward his car surrounded by the eleven hundred grateful Jews. Now that it is over, he comes to the crushing realization that he could have done more, that he could have saved more lives, that he had been selfish and wasted so much money. He says, “I should have sold the car, why did I keep the car? I could have got two more people.” He pulls a gold pin from his jacket and says, “This is gold. I should have sold it. I could have got another person.” Then Itzhak Stern, the Jew who worked with Schindler to bring all this about, grabs hold of Schindler and says, “You did so much. Look around you. Eleven hundred people are alive because of you.” 

Schindler was by no means a perfect man, but what he did was heroic, and still he felt he had not done enough, as if he could have and should have done more. Millions around him were doing nothing, but still he knew in his heart that he could have done more. 

Today there are fewer than four thousand Jews in Poland. There are more than six thousand descendants of the Jews Schindler saved around the world. 

Most of us live far from the heroic generosity of Schindler. He went to extraordinary lengths, risking his own life, to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. But it would be a shame to come to the end of our lives and realize that we could have done so much more for others. 

We cannot do everything, but that doesn’t mean we should do nothing. Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do. And what we can do, all of us, is make small sacrifices, and simplify our lives in some small ways, so that others can discover the truths that led us to where we are today.

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit.

Save a life. Give blood. If you have ever been in a situation where you or someone you love has needed blood to survive, you know how vital this gift is to a community. Giving blood is a selfless and noble form of generosity. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

I Can Do So Little

 

Generosity is… Wise, Enchanting, Simple, Transformational, Possible!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

“I can do so little,” I hear people say. This may be true. But people ask all the time, “How did the world get to be such a mess?” The answer is so simple and personally convicting that we reject it. The world got to be such a mess because millions of people like you and I didn’t do their part. 

Your part may be small. I don’t know. You don’t either. We never really know until we start doing it. Mother Teresa didn’t set out to become a global icon and champion of the poorest of the poor. She just set out to do her part. 

Do your part. Large or small. Do not let your part become another one of the mindless millions of parts that were abandoned. Decide today, right here, that the world will be a better place because you were here, that you will not let your part go undone. Say it to yourself, out loud, “I will not let my part be left undone.” 

When they are dying, most people regret not having been more generous. There are some regrets that creep up on us in life, but this is not one of them. Choose to live the rest of your life generously. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Give someone an afternoon of carefree timelessness. Carefree timelessness is time together without an agenda. Pick a day, block off a few hours, don’t plan anything, and when that day comes around decide how to spend the afternoon together in carefree timelessness. Do something or do nothing, go somewhere or not, walk, talk, dance, sing, read to each other, watch a movie. Just be with each other.

Generosity is… Possible. So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Confused About Needs and Wants

 

Generosity is… Beautiful, Thoughtful, Creative, Ennobling, Selfless! 

 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

 

One of the biggest obstacles to generosity is our confusion around needs and wants. When we believe our wants are needs, our values become distorted. It’s okay to want things. We were created with that capacity for a reason. But our desires serve us best when they are engaged intentionally, rather than being allowed to rule our lives.

One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is confusing needs and wants. Think about it. What is a need? Formulate a definition in your mind. We often say, “I need this,” or “I need that,” but what definition of need are we operating under? 

A need is something that is essential to survive. Needs are necessary to sustain life. Most of what I think I need is not essential for survival. A want, on the other hand, is something we desire but can live without. We need so little and want so much. 

Meanwhile, the world is full of desperate need and destructive want. When we put our wants ahead of other people’s needs, we abandon our humanity. Which other people? That is the question of questions, one of the biggest questions of all. Which other people? When it comes to both world affairs and our individual quest to live authentically, this is a huge question. Which other people? All I will say here is that the more we grow in wisdom, the more people we tend to include in our answer to the question. Which other people?

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Ask a homeless person her name. Ask a homeless person how he ended up living on the streets. Our names and our stories are important, theirs are too. Give them some money or offer to buy them some food too, but do it with dignity by engaging them as human beings. Keep in mind, that many stores won’t let homeless people enter, even to buy something. 

Give to them in a way that ennobles them, in a way that reminds them that while the world may seem indifferent to them, there are still some people who care. Everything you do and say in that interaction should say, “I see you. I hear you. You matter. I am with you. I care.”

And remember, when it comes to a homeless person, the important word is person. 

Make today a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Generosity Looks Good on You

 

Generosity is… Hopeful, Courageous, Optimistic, Possible, Gorgeous! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

 

When I was young, my mother would say things like, “That color looks great on you,” or “I really like that shirt on you.” At every turn, my mother and father encouraged me, and their encouragement was the fuel that launched me into life. 

Different things look good on different people, but some things look good on everyone—and generosity is at the top of the list. Generosity looks good on you. 

Philosophers and poets have been suggesting that there is a link between moral and physical beauty for thousands of years. It has long been known that generosity increases happiness, confidence, self-esteem, and even physical health. Researchers have proven that giving activates an area of the brain linked with contentment. But a recent study from Indiana University found that people who engage in “giving behaviors” are more attractive physically. 

Doing good literally draws our inner beauty to the surface. Let’s make being generous the next beauty trend. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Buy a journal and write down 100 things you love about someone. One per page. And then give the journal to them as a gift, not for a birthday or anniversary, just because. It could be a spouse, a friend, a child, a parent. We never articulate many of the things we love about each other. Speak your love and speak it generously. 

Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

Generosity Feels Good

Generosity is… Attractive!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Sometimes when people want to put something down, they will say, “Oh, that’s just a feel-good thing!” The criticism is usually leveled at a person or program trying to do something very positive, and it always surprises me that people can find a way to be critical of others who are actually trying to make a difference. 

Feeling good is an amazing thing. It shouldn’t be our god or the sole mission of our lives, but feeling good has its purpose and there are many things that should feel good. And God has nothing against us feeling good. He invented it. Let’s think a little bit about why in the context of generosity. 

Things that feel good feel good for a reason, and part of the reason is because they draw us toward the fullest expression of our potential as human beings. That’s not to say that experiences that give us those good feelings cannot be misused, abused, distorted, corrupted, and indulged for the wrong reasons. We all know they can, because we have all done this in various ways. 

Nonetheless, we are constantly being invited back into right-relationship with all things. Every day is an invitation to foster right relationship with ourselves, other people, God, work, food, money, health, nature, culture, creativity, and of course generosity.  

Generosity feels good. You are not imagining it, and it’s not just metaphorical. Generosity literally feels good. Scientists have discovered that one of the reasons is because when you are generous your body releases oxytocin into your bloodstream. This is the hormone that is released during childbirth, sex, breastfeeding, exercise, and while hugging, holding hands, listening to music, and sharing a meal with friends. Oxytocin induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection with others. Generosity literally produces an oxytocin high, and that is one of the reasons it feels good. But those good feelings are just bread crumbs designed to lead us to what is morally good. And that is where we experience our deepest experience of satisfaction and fulfillment. The ultimate feel-good sensations come from doing what is good, right, just, and noble. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Write an amazing review for your favorite song, book, or product. These are someone’s life’s work. If they have enriched your life, share that with the world. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! The spirit of generosity is a powerful thing… unleash the spirit of generosity in your life!

 

Generosity Is Good for You

 

Generosity is… Healthy!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

There are so many ways generosity is good for you. Over the past 25 years, there have been hundreds of studies into the effects of giving and generosity, and yet, in many ways they seem to simply affirm what we already knew intuitively or from experience. Here are sixteen ways generosity is good for you: 

Generosity improves your physical health. 

It improves your mood.

Generous people live longer.

It evokes gratitude and contentment.

It enhances our awareness of the meaning and purpose of life.

Generous people have better relationships.

It makes us happy. 

It transforms the way we feel about ourselves. 

Generous people tend to have more friends. 

It stimulates a more positive outlook on life. 

It has a mysterious way of rewarding you tenfold. 

Generosity leads to higher self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, better mental health, lower blood pressure, decreased stress, and the list literally goes on and on. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Forgive. We have all been hurt by others, we have all been betrayed in ways large or small, we have all been the victims of wrongful acts or injustice. Everybody needs to forgive somebody. Forgiveness is a supreme form of generosity. Set out along the road of forgiving someone who has wronged you. And begin to explore how you need to forgive yourself too. Sometimes it is our inability to forgive ourselves for something completely unrelated that holds us back from forgiving other people. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Begin by generously sharing this video with someone else!

 

When People Notice

 

Generosity is… Heroic!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Have people started to notice yet? If you have been practicing the generosity habit each day, I suspect people in your life are starting to wonder what happened to you. Deciding to live a life of intentional generosity is like falling in love. It rearranges your priorities, you are more energetic and enthusiastic about life, you get this light in your eyes and your face glows. That’s the generosity glow. It’s impossible to hide and people are going to ask, so be ready to answer. 

When people start saying, “You seem different!” or asking, “What’s going on with you?” just tell them the same thing we’ve been saying every day, “I’ve decided that rather than just being myself, I’m going to be my most generous self!” and then invite them to join you. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Do something heroic. Don’t just be kind, be heroically kind. Don’t just be patient, be heroically patient. Don’t just be helpful, go above and beyond the extra mile and be heroically helpful. We are all capable of rising above mediocrity and accomplishing excellence. We are all capable of rising above excellence and being heroic. It’s time to awaken the hero within you. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And don’t just dabble in generosity, live a life of staggering generosity, heroic generosity! 

 

 

The Happiest People I Know

 

Generosity is… Joy!

 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

The happiest people I know are also the most generous people I know. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. The world proposes selfishness as the path to happiness. God proposes generosity as the path to happiness. I know many selfish people, but I don’t know any who have a deep and lasting happiness. Selfish people always seem restless and dissatisfied. When I am selfish, I feel restless and dissatisfied. The happiness we experience through selfishness is fleeting because it is dependent on external circumstances. But I also know some very generous people, and their happiness is not dependent on things going their way or on getting what they want; their happiness is rooted in goodness. This happiness, this joy springs up from something that is taking place within them. We are all invited to that life and that happiness, and generosity is one path that leads there. 

Generosity is a trademark of the happiest people I know. There is indispensable connection between generosity and happiness. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Bring people together. Bringing people together is always an act of generosity. Put together a list of people you know who bring fabulous energy to any gathering and bring them all together in one place at one time. Host a dinner party, book club, a play date or a picnic in the park. People thrive on connection.

Have a great day… and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

It's Who You Are

 

Generosity is… Everywhere!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity is not something you do. It’s who you are. Once we discover the genius of generosity, it becomes central to our value system, and we start thinking in terms of how we can do the most good with what we have at our disposal. 

This is when the depth and breadth of our generosity begins to expand. We become generous neighbors, lovers, parents, and grandparents. Our colleagues at work notice our generosity. We become generous with our praise and appreciation. We become especially generous with our encouragement. The scope of our generosity reaches into every aspect of life. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Be generous with yourself. Go somewhere you have always wanted to go. Do something you have always wanted to do. Buy something you have always wanted to buy. Give yourself some time to rest and reflect. We talk about generously sharing our time with others, but sometimes we are stingy with ourselves. How will you be generous with others if you are unable to be generous with yourself?

Have a great day… and don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Everyone Thinks They Are Generous

 

Generosity is… Consistent!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Most people think of themselves as generous, but if you get any group of people together and ask them for their time, talent, or treasure, some will be far more generous than others. The temptation is to say that those who give more money have more money, or those who volunteer more time have more time. But this is not true. Very often the busiest people are most generous with volunteering. Similarly, studies show that people with relatively modest incomes (and virtually no wealth) are often much more generous than those who have much more. 

One of the things I have noticed about the most generous people I know is that they have fun with their generosity. They take real pleasure in it, and in some ways, they see life as a generosity contest. Not a contest with other people, but a contest with self. And a contest with life itself. It seems the more they give, the more they receive. How would your life be different if you saw life as a generosity contest?

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Be aware of when someone else is in a hurry. Don’t concern yourself with the reason, just help them get to where they are going a little faster. Let them in on the highway, allow them to go in front of you in line, help them gather the things they have dropped all over the floor. Simply be helpful getting them to wherever it is they need to get to. 

So, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! The spirit of generosity is a powerful thing… unleash the spirit of generosity in your life!

 

How Generous Are You?

 

Generosity is… Abundant!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

We are all called to live generous lives, and to grow in the area of generosity is one of the surest ways to grow spiritually. But in order to grow our generosity, we first need to get a sense of where we are today. 

How generous are you? Are you dabbling in generosity or are you living a life of staggering generosity? Do you believe the more generous you become in every way, the more your life will improve in every way?

Give yourself a generosity score between one and ten, with one being the meanest, stingiest person you can imagine (think of Scrooge from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol) and ten being the most generous person you have ever known. 

This simple exercise helps us to realize where we are on the spectrum of generosity. Perhaps this moment of introspection leads us to the conclusion that we are not as generous as we thought we were. On the other hand, it may bring us to the realization that even though we have been very generous in the past, we have great opportunities to be even more generous in the future. And hopefully throughout this journey together you are discover new and creative ways to be generous.

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Support a small business. Go out of your way to buy something from a small business. Small businesses create 67% of new jobs, deliver 43% of gross domestic product, and produce 16 times more patents per employee than large companies. 36% of small business are owned by women, 9% by veterans, and 15% by people of color. 68% of every dollar spent with a small business funnels back to the community. Small businesses are literally the backbone of the economy. What you buy, where you buy, and who you buy from can generously reshape your community and the world. 

Have a great day… and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

The Wisdom of Opposites

 

Generosity is… Wise!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

The opposite of being generous is to be greedy, mean, selfish, stingy, and fearful. You cannot be generous and greedy. Eventually one will extinguish the other. You cannot be generous and mean. You cannot be generous and selfish. These opposites are constantly vying for dominance within you, and eventually one will extinguish the other. Which one? Whichever one you nurture and feed. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Remember. Remember people’s names, remember other people’s birthdays and anniversaries, and most of all help those you love to remember their story and your story together. Memories have a powerful positive impact on us emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Go through your photos and send one to someone reminding them of a great memory. Ask people to tell you about some of the best moments of their lives. When we forget our story, we go mad. This is true for a person, a couple, a family, a business or organization, and a nation. Help people to remember their stories.

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self!

 

What's Holding You Back?

Generosity is… Courageous! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

What’s holding you back from being more generous with your time? What’s holding you back from being more generous with your talent? What’s holding you back from being more generous with your treasure? Are you afraid of something or are you just too busy and distracted?

Take a moment today and really ponder these four questions. 

My experience has been that when we sit down and really think on these questions a little, almost everybody aspires to greater levels of generosity. The problem is life gets in the way. The demands on our time, talent, and treasure are enormous. Nurturing relationships requires endless amounts of time. Unexpected financial needs and dilemmas always seem to be popping up. It’s not that people don’t want to grow in their generosity; it’s just that life seems to be pulling us in many directions all the time. 

If we are to grow in generosity, it will require an intentional effort. Life is so busy and distracting. We are not going to just stumble upon greater generosity. We are pulled in so many different directions that unless we make greater generosity a priority, it will not happen. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Contain your frustration. Next time somebody does something that really frustrates you, something that absolutely drives you crazy, take a deep breath and allow the moment to pass. Impulse control is critical to living a full and happy life, but it is a quality that is becoming increasingly rare in the modern world. Impulse control is another way we can be generous with other people. It is natural to get frustrated, but don’t be a slave to your impulses. Part of what makes us wonderfully human is our ability to harness our impulses with our will and intellect. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self!

 

Be Generous with Your Money

 

Generosity is… 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

By now I hope I have well and truly convinced you that you do not need money or possessions to live a life of staggering generosity. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be generous with our money and things if we have them. 

Be generous with your money. How do you feel when you hear those words? What was your emotional response to these five words? Be generous with your money. We tend to have strong emotional reactions to money and talk of money. The reason is because we all have money wounds. And exploring our generosity is one of the ways we can discover and heal our money wounds. 

I must admit that what surprised me the most about the research around generosity was how much some of the conversations focused on money, and not at all in the ways I had expected. 

I was sitting at a kitchen table in Philadelphia with one couple, Jim and Phyllis. We had been talking about generosity for some time, and then Jim said something that stopped me in my tracks: “There is a reason Jesus talked more about money than any other subject.” My mind started racing, trying to verify this point. Did Jesus talk more about money than anything else? I had never really thought about it. 

“Why do you think that is, Jim?” I finally managed to ask. “I cannot be certain,” Jim began. “I am not a Scripture scholar, but from my own experience it seems that money has a way of getting ahold of us, and from there it can control us in ways that are so subtle that we are often not even aware of it at the time.” Phyllis added, “Money is just one of those things that can become a huge obstacle to spiritual growth.” 

It was one of the many powerful moments that I experienced throughout the course of the interviewing people about generosity. Now I decided to play the devil’s advocate a bit. “But there are many ways to be generous other than with money, right?”

“Absolutely,” Jim affirmed. “But if you are not generous with your money you will not be generous with your heart. In this way it is incredible how powerfully our attitude toward money can affect our relationships with our family and friends—and of course our relationship with God. Yes, there are many ways to be generous, but none of these relieve us of our need and responsibility to give financially.” 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Tip generously. Tipping is a part of our culture. It is a regular part of our lives, and therefore a great way to practice our generosity. Next time you are out and experience fabulous service, leave a tip that is twice as much as you usually give, or three times. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

 

Generosity Is a Virtue

 

Generosity is… Virtuous! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Generosity is a virtue, and it is a virtue for our times. Our lives only genuinely and sustainably improve when we grow in virtue, and a culture only genuinely and sustainably improves when the people who make up that culture grow in virtue. The bottom line is this: If we want things to improve we need to focus on virtue. 

Virtue is also a path to generosity. Are you generous with virtue? For example, you may be patient with the people in your life, but is it a forceful, grit your teeth patience, or is it a lavish and generous patience? The same is true with kindness, forgiveness, humility, perseverance, compassion, and honesty. Are you generous or stingy with your virtue? Do you share it lavishly with the world? 

There are a thousand creative ways to activate generosity in our lives. Each and every single one will make you a better person, and the world a better place. Generosity is a virtue, and it is a virtue for our times.

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Who do you know who needs a break? Everyone needs a break from time to time, but when we are amid life’s daily pressures, we may not recognize that. Those around us will likely see it before we do. If you see that someone needs a break, and you can give them a break for fifteen minutes, an hour, or an afternoon, do that. It’s amazing how even fifteen minutes to catch our breath and collect our thoughts can make all the difference. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! The spirit of generosity is a powerful thing… unleash the spirit of generosity in your life!

 

 

Most Important Generosity Lesson

 

Generosity is… Divine!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

The most important generosity lesson is to stay mindful of the true source of all good things.

We have all been wise and we have all been fools. But let us not be fools in this matter, for it is one of life’s supreme lessons. Only a fool loves a gift more than the giver of the gift. Life, love, free will, all your fond memories, the dreams that fascinate your heart, everything you’ve ever had and anything you will have in the future... are all gifts from the Giver of all good things. You owe nothing to anyone other than the Giver of all good things, but to Him you owe everything. Generosity is about recognizing that nothing belongs to us and that everything belongs to Him. It’s about embracing our role as stewards of His treasures. It’s about listening to His voice and direction, so that we know how to enjoy and share all the blessings He has entrusted to us. 

When we speak about generosity we often do so in the context of stewardship. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. As Christians, we are taught that our time, talent, and treasure are all on loan to us from God — and that one day we will have to give an account for the way we managed them. The world says to do whatever you want with your time and talent, and as for your treasure — “It’s your stuff!” “You earned it; it belongs to you.” “What does God have to do with it?” “As for other people, let them take care of themselves.” When we forget the true source of things, disorder begins to reign in our lives. God wants to lead us out of the chaos of this world and into the peace and clarity of His order.

Are you a good steward of what God has entrusted to you? Think about it for a moment today. If you consider the past twenty-four hours, were you a good steward of this time? How much time did you waste? How much time did you spend that didn’t help you become a-better-version-of-yourself? Are you a good steward of the talents God has entrusted to you? Are you using them to create the most good for the most people? Are you a good steward of the treasure God has entrusted to you? Are you grateful for the money and possessions that flow through your life? Are you generous with the things you have? Do you make them available to others to enjoy, or do you guard them jealously? Are you generous with the money you have at your disposal? 

It’s humbling to think about these questions, but unless we take time to reflect on how purposefully we are approaching our role as stewards we cannot grow in this area.
Now think about your talents. 

Stewardship is one of the largest responsibilities God places on our shoulders. It is impossible to live up to this responsibility unless we approach it with great intentionality. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Be generous with God. It is said that God will never be outdone in generosity. Jesus speaks of a return of a hundredfold in this world and eternal life in the next (Mark 10:31). How generous are you with God? 

I suppose it is hard to be generous with someone who has everything and needs nothing. And yet, like any loving parent, God yearns to be with his children. God yearns to be with us. He delights in spending time with us (Proverbs 8:31). One way we can be generous with God is by spending time with him. Not just the leftovers, the scraps of our day, but dedicating a specific time each day for prayer is one way to be generous with God. 

Honoring the Sabbath is another way to be generous with God. The author of Malachi poses this question: “What man would dare rob God?(Malachi 3:8)” But we do, don’t we? The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, and I know from my own experience how easy it is to become preoccupied with the things of this world on Sunday. It requires a real intentionality to honor the Sabbath. 

But the hardest way for us to be generous with God is by surrendering to his will for our lives. “Thy will be done, on earth.” That means in our daily lives. “Thy will be done.” In everything we think, do, and say. Surrendering ourselves to the will of God is the Mount Everest of spirituality and a great opportunity for each of us to be generous with God. 

Make today a great day. Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

 

Surrounded by Need

 

Generosity is… Visionary! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Everywhere we look in this world we see need. If we open the eyes of our soul we will discover that we are surrounded by need. The needs of others are always an invitation from God to live generously.

 

Every day many prayers go unanswered, and it seems to me that this is not because God did not want those prayers answered, but because he sent us to answer those prayers and we didn’t heed the call.

Fulton Sheen observed, “Never measure your generosity by what you give, but rather by what you have left.” Leo XIII wrote, “Once necessity and propriety are taken care of everything else belongs to the poor.”

But the Gospel invites us to a generosity that is mind blowing. If we immerse ourselves in the Gospel we realize that there is a level of generosity that goes beyond giving money and things to the poor. It is a generosity that challenges us to change the conditions that make them poor. 

There will always be some that have more than others, and therefore, there will always be those that are comparatively poor. But why haven’t we made poverty history? Poverty is different than poor. Poverty is a form of violence, it dehumanizes people daily, every hour of every day. When we decide together, once and for all, to make poverty history, humanity will enter into a great new era of flourishing.

Each day I find myself challenged to be more generous than before, but when I come face to face with poverty, I realize I still have a long way to go. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Read about poverty. Study poverty. Try to understand what the causes of poverty are in your city, your country, and around the world. Knowing what causes poverty is the first step to eradicating poverty in our world. 

 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity!

 

Providence

 

Generosity is… Thoughtful!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Providence is the belief that God will provide for our needs. This does not mean that we can sit around, do nothing, and expect God to put dinner on the table tonight. Providence is not an excuse for laziness. We shouldn’t ask for a miracle when all that is needed is an opportunity and hard work. Providence requires our cooperation. 

The central question in any discussion about divine Providence is: Do we trust that God will provide for us? Intellectually and theologically it may be easy to say yes, but practically we prefer not to have to rely on God. We prefer to take things into our own hands, and that is the line that we cross to join the world’s perspective of self-determinism. 

Part of the reason is trust, but the other part is greed. God’s promise is that he will provide for our needs, not that he will provide for our greed. And I suspect what God considers a need may differ significantly with what the average person today thinks are needs.

Place yourself in God’s hands. Ask Him to take care of you and your family, in every way imaginable. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Buy someone your favorite thing. When we give our possessions away, we usually give the things we don’t need or want. And that is good, and there is a place for that. But try something different this time. Go beyond the low bar our society sets for generosity. Think about something you own that you just love. You know it’s just a material possession, but nonetheless it brings you great joy. I’m not asking you to give it away, I’m challenging you to buy another one for someone else. If you have to save to accomplish this generous feat, come up with a plan to save what is needed. And most importantly, think, pray, reflect, discern, who is likely to derive as much joy from it as you do. That is the person to whom you should give this fabulous and insanely thoughtful gift. 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book. Click here to order a copy.

 

How Generosity Changed My Life

 

Generosity is… Life-Changing!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Today I am going to share with you the story of how Generosity changed my life forever. 

I had my whole world rocked one Sunday afternoon many years ago at a retreat. The priest leading the retreat gave a talk describing his own experience of arriving at a new parish that was in financial distress. He dreaded going to the parish from the moment he was assigned, and once he arrived, he became increasingly anxious about the financial situation. 

One day he called another priest, who had been a longtime friend, because he just needed to talk to someone about the situation. He hoped that his friend would console and encourage him, but instead he challenged him to introduce tithing into the parish budget. “I can’t pay the bills as it is, and you want me to give ten percent away?” the priest said to his friend. “You’re crazy.” The other priest said to him, “It seems you trust your money more than you trust God.” This stung the priest right to his core, and over the next several weeks he struggled with the idea. One day, he went over to the church at lunchtime and just sat in front of the tabernacle for a long time. Finally, he decided that he would lead the parish to become a tithing parish. 

On Monday after the Sunday collections had been counted, he went to the bank, opened a new account, and deposited 10 percent of the collections into that account. Each month for twenty years now, he has distributed 10 percent of the parish’s income to various charities and ministries and to those in need. Little by little, the people of the parish were also won over to the idea of tithing. Today that parish is a vibrant spiritual community with excellent facilities and fantastic programs. It supports many ministries locally and beyond.

The priest finished his talk by challenging us to consider tithing in our own lives. I was thirty years old, had been a Catholic my whole life, and nobody had ever asked me to consider tithing. I was convicted as I heard his talk that day. Sure, I considered myself a generous person, but his talk challenged me to examine my financial giving, and what I discovered was that I was not particularly generous with money. 

The following week I sat down and calculated what percentage of my annual income I had given to my parish and other charities over the past three years. The figure I came to was about 2 percent. Among Catholics my generosity was better than average, but nothing special. Statistically when compared with the general population I was not generous at all. 

But—and we all have many buts in the area of money—the challenge to tithe seemed too much. My financial commitments at the time made it seem impossible. I read quite a bit on the subject, and many would say you had to take a leap of faith and just give the 10 percent away. Right or wrong, I was not capable of that leap of faith. 

I prayed about it for a few weeks, and kept recalling the original inspiration I had found on that retreat. Finally, I came to a resolution. I would increase my giving by 1 percent of my income each year until I reached 10 percent. I laid this plan before God in prayer and felt at peace. 

Over the years, it turned out I was able to increase my giving by more than 1 percent some years. When we reached 10 percent my wife and I talked about how blessed we had been and decided that we would continue to increase our giving by 1 percent each year until it was no longer possible. 

Recently I read about a very successful businessman who had committed to a reverse tithe—that is, each year he would live on just 10 percent of his income and give 90 percent to his church and various other charities. 

The path I have taken to become more generous with money is not the only way, but it has transformed the role generosity plays in my life. By becoming more generous with money I have become more generous in my relationships and in every aspect of life. So, I encourage you to set a giving goal each year. Why? Lots of reasons, but high on the list is because I want you to experience the intense joy that comes from celebrating generosity.

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Calculate what percentage of your income you gave to charity last year. Give 1% more this year. Give 1% more each year until it simply is no longer possible to give more and fulfill your responsibilities. You will be amazed how this one habit will change your life in one hundred ways.

Make today a great day. Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

 

Are You Listening?

 

Generosity is… Clarifying!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Is God calling you to live more generously? I have never asked this question and heard no as the answer. Every time I ponder this question God challenges me to a greater level of generosity— not because he wants me to give all my time, talent, and treasure away to others, but because he wants me to live a free and happy life. The happiest people I know are the most generous people I know, and they seem free from the things of this world in a way that is to be admired. 

Every time I think about how God is challenging me to live a more generous life, I think about the money I spend on frivolous things that I don’t really need and the time I waste just being lazy. All this brings me to the realization that God is not calling me to give up something that is essential to my welfare or happiness, or the welfare and happiness of my family; he is just asking me to generously dispense a portion of my excess. 

But still, I am resistant. Are you resistant to the generosity God is calling you to? This is one of the baffling parts of the spiritual journey. At every step God leads us into a better life than before, filled with more joy, freedom, and happiness—and yet we still resist the next step. So, what’s holding you back from being more generous? Is it real or imagined? 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Plant a tree. Give this gift to the children of today and tomorrow. The air we breathe provides the oxygen we need to live, which in turn rids the body of waste and toxins. So, breathe deep, plant a tree, and give the gift of fresh air to the people of tomorrow. Being generous with the environment is a way of being generous with future generations. 

Make today a great day. Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

The Most Generous People You Know

 

Generosity is… Contagious! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Who is the most generous person you know? Ask someone this question and you will more than likely hear an inspiring story. 

Everywhere we turn there is generosity. The daily generosity of parents and the sacrifices they make for their children; the courageous generosity of all those who serve in the military; the generosity of leaders and neighbors and strangers; and humanity’s constant efforts to relieve the suffering of the poor and the marginalized. And still, it is so easy for us to selfishly focus on ourselves. But with every passing day, God is gently inviting us to live more generously, calling us to switch the focus off ourselves and onto others. 

Gratitude is a sure path to generosity. The more we are mindful of how much we have received, the more we are inclined to look for opportunities to give. 

We are not called to give begrudgingly. It is not even a willingness to do good that God calls us to. Far above these, when we are at our best as human beings, we are filled with an eagerness to do good, an eagerness to give generously, and an eagerness to help our brothers and sisters regardless of what ocean or idea separates us. 

May God bless us all with an eagerness to live generously. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

 

Become someone’s generosity story. Everyone has a story about the most generous person they know, and if you dedicate yourself to a life of generosity, one day you will be someone’s generosity story. They will say, “Let me tell you about the most generous person I know…” and then they will talk about you. And your generosity will inspire people in other places and in other times. 

 

Have a great day, and remember, don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self! And if you are enjoying these videos, you’ll love the book, click here to order your copy today.

 

I Will Serve

 

Generosity is… Holy! 

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

When was the last time you experienced exceptional hospitality? Hospitality is by definition generous, and has been one of the marks of Christianity from the very beginning. One thing that clearly set Christians apart from others was the way they treated each other and the way they welcomed strangers. 

I have spent most of my adult life on the road. The challenges of life on the road have often been soothed by generous hospitality. Last week I was studying a map of the world with my oldest son Walter for a project he was doing for school, and as we moved from country to country, from city to city, each place reminded me of the people who welcomed and hosted me in those places. 

Today is Holy Thursday and Christians around the world will remember and celebrate the Last Supper. This is the night when Jesus shared his final meal with his disciples, washed their feet, reminded them that they had a unique contribution to make, and gave them the servant leadership model. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

For more than 1500 years, Monasteries around the world have been welcoming travelers and pilgrims and providing hospitality. We are all travelers. We are all just passing through this place. When you welcome someone into your home for a meal or to stay, you share in this long and rich history of hospitality, which is a beautiful form of generosity. When you welcome someone into your home, shower them generously with hospitality. Live a life of generous service to others. 

Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self. Live a life of staggering generosity. 

 

Receive Graciously 

 

Generosity is… Gracious!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit.

One of the most counter-intuitive ways to be generous is by receiving graciously. When we receive graciously, we allow the giver to fully enjoy the act of giving. When we do not receive graciously, we discourage generosity. We also ignite self-consciousness in the giver, making them uncomfortable in their giving, and giving should be as natural as a flowing river. 

Next time you are the beneficiary of someone else’s generosity, be mindful of how graciously you respond. Teach yourself to receive graciously. There is a generous way to receive a gift. Learning to receive other people’s generosity gratefully and graciously is itself a form of generosity. 

We have never received more than today. This day is the ultimate day of receiving for humanity. It is a day for gratitude and humility. The day that changed everything, for everyone. It is a day of astounding generosity. 

Today is Good Friday. Let everything in you that is selfish and stingy and greedy die today. Place anything in you that isn’t generous on the cross and let it be crucified. 

Now, here is today’s generosity habit. 

Give until it hurts. We can be so generous without making any great sacrifice. But try once, to give until it hurts. Give in a way that costs you. Just try it once. Give in a way that requires you to change your lifestyle in some way large or small. 

On this day of staggering generosity, do not just be yourself, be your most generous self! Live a life of staggering generosity.  

 

Ennoble People

 

Generosity is… Ennobling!

Welcome to The Generosity Habit. 

Every expression of generosity announces boldly, “I see you. I hear you. You matter. I am with you. I care.” 

Every act of generosity ennobles another human being. Generosity is a deeply personal and loving response to the needs of other human beings. It announces to the world: “You matter. Your dignity matters. Your nobility as a human being matters.” 

When we celebrate generosity, we ennoble others and embrace our own nobility. This is the genius of generosity: it brings the best out of us as human beings, ennobles us at a time when so much caters to our lowest self and debases us. 

And so it is, we begin to see, that generosity is much more than a “random act of kindness.” Generosity is anything but random. It is a focused and intentional effort to chart a new course for humanity and the planet we live on. 

So, on this day of Resurrection, may God fill you with the grace to embrace a bold new generosity.  

Now, here is today’s generosity habit… and my personal challenge to you as our journey together draws to a close. 

 

Make it a personal ambition to become more generous with every passing day. The mistake we easily make in this area of life is to compare our generosity to the generosity of others. Ernest Hemingway observed, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” 

I hope each night when you lay your head on your pillow, you discover that you are more generous today than yesterday, but not as generous as you hope to be tomorrow. 

Set out to become the most generous person possible. Astound people with your generosity. Live a life of staggering generosity. Set out to do the most good for the most people. This is life’s mandate. And if you listen carefully, you will discover this is what your soul is summoning you to. 

Don’t just be yourself, be your most generous self. Don’t just dabble in generosity, live a life of staggering generosity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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About the Author

Matthew Kelly was born in Sydney, Australia. He has dedicated his life to helping people and organizations become the-best-version-of-themselves. Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author, an internationally acclaimed speaker, and a business consultant to some of the world’s largest and most admired companies. He is the author of more than thirty books, which have sold more than forty-five million copies and have been published in more than thirty languages.

 

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