Generosity encourages generosity. One person’s generosity draws out generosity in others. And it’s not driven by obligation, but it wells up from joy.
I’m hanging out again (teaching, ministering, building relationships but it all just feels like hanging out!) with the Gateways community in Cyprus. They ooze hospitality and generosity. I feel I’m a pretty generous person, but when I’m surrounded by this community I find myself looking for opportunities to be generous. I see it flowing from one person to another, from one situation to another. It flows to me over and over again, always with smiles and genuine desires to bless and be a blessing. And I witness my own response — to share what I’ve received.
Much of my response is reciprocity. I want to give back to those who have given to me, bless those who’ve blessed me. I suspect that’s quite natural. But it’s more than that. I find myself wanting to bless store clerks and waiters and people I pass on the street. I get frustrated by the language barrier because it limits me. It limits my desire to release the flow welling up inside, the flow of generosity, the overflow of joy.
Generosity is not measured by quantity. It’s simply the outward expression flowing from a spirit of generosity within, and the spirit of generosity wants to bless others. When we are stingy, we are worried about ourselves and focused on ourselves, but when a generous spirit motives us we are considering others above ourselves (Phil. 2:1-4).
Experiencing and receiving from a generous community like Gateways awakens a generous spirit in me. That’s been my recent blessing. But we don’t have to receive in order to give. We can begin the flow of generosity that will awaken it in others. May our generosity flow and may our joy overflow!