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.
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