6 Ways to Become More Generous

“Would you like to make a contribution toward disaster relief?” asked the Lowes cashier. “Sure,” my husband Les said, “five dollars.” A couple hours later it was the waitress at Macaroni Grill: “Would you like to give $2 to hunger relief and get a $5 coupon?” “Sure, we’ll give $4,” said Les.

The Bible tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Some have said “cheerful” could even be translated “hysterical.” But giving isn’t fun for many of us. Here are six ways to become a more generous giver:

  1. Say yes—Learn from Les’s example and simply say yes when someone asks for a donation, as long as you know it’s a legitimate charity.
  2. Start small—If parting with a twenty makes you twitch, start small. Give a buck or two. Pay attention to how you feel, and I’ll bet you’ll like how you feel well enough to do it again.
  3. See the outcome—When someone asks you for a donation, don’t think about parting with the money, think of what results arise from your gift. Imagine the joy on the face of the family receiving the keys to their Habitat for Humanity house. Picture a child eating a good meal. Dream of a world without cancer.
  4. Get close—Volunteer to hand out groceries at a food bank. Swing a hammer with Habitat. Be a cheerleader for a Special Olympics athlete. Once you’ve become personally invested in a service project you’ll be more excited about giving your financial resources too.
  5. Practice gratitude—All of us have been blessed many times over. When you begin to be thankful for what you have—instead of bemoaning what you don’t—giving to bless others makes more sense.
  6. Hold things lightly—When we get enamored with our stuff, it controls us. It takes work to remember that all we have belongs to God and is on loan to us. God desires us to use our resources (actually, his resources) to reach out to others in his love. Let’s start with a few bucks this week.

May we remember this lesson from St. Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours; yours are the only hands with which he can do his work, yours are the only feet with which he can go about the world, yours are the only eyes through which his compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.”

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