He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
(Proverbs 22:9, NKJV)
Friend to Friend
It was a generous act that got my attention.
After I was done speaking at a conference, a teenage boy asked to speak with me at my book table. “I know this may be strange,” he said. “But I’d like to buy books for the next ten people at your table.”
He handed me $100. I couldn’t believe that someone wanted to be so generous, and I couldn’t believe it was a 17-year-old boy! The host church wasn’t in an affluent part of town and I later learned that boy did not come from a rich family.
I praised his generosity and motioned for him to stay close, so he could overhear my next conversation. A kind looking woman in her fifties handed me a small stack of books to purchase. I had the privilege of saying, “An anonymous donor has already bought those books for you. Today, they are free!”
You should have seen the smile on her face and tears in her eyes. It was almost as touching as the look on that young man’s face as he saw the joy generated by his sacrificial act.
He, the generous giver, was blessed! Today’s truth says that “He who has generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.” How does one have a generous eye? I believe it’s about looking around to notice the needs of others and to respond. The opposite would be a selfish, me-centered eye. Now that kind of eye is the one we’re born with and the kind social media breeds. We need to cultivate a generous eye by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There was a saying posted at the host church, “Generosity is a privilege.”
It’s not a duty, burden, problem, or something to be avoided at all costs. It’s a privilege to give money in an offering, pay for someone’s meal, serve children by volunteering, or buy books for someone else. The Bible tells us what our attitude should be when giving in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
When you give generously to others, you are partnering with God in the profound work of ministry. You are putting a spotlight on the abundant good works of God in our lives. You may be generous with your money, and you can also be generous in these areas:
Your time. Spend unhurried time with your family members and best friends. Be generous with your minutes with people and miserly with your screen time. Take time out to volunteer for service projects, drive the van, or sit with a hurting friend.
Your talents. Maybe you have the heart of a coach or teacher. You can volunteer to tutor kids or coach basketball. Do you sing or play an instrument? Get involved in your church, join a band, or minister at your local nursing home. Are you great with numbers? You might offer to help out a non-profit with their accounting.
Your words. Be lavish in your praise and encouraging words. In Acts 20:2 (NIV) it says that Paul “traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece.”
Let’s be known for our generous acts and our generous eyes. Generosity truly is a privilege and a blessing to everyone involved.
Dear Jesus, thank You for Your ultimate generosity in loving me. Change my heart from a selfish heart to a giving heart. May I speak words of encouragement to the people around me. Help me to give cheerfully of my money, time, and talents.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you usually give money grudgingly or cheerfully?
Think about your schedule this week. What is one generous thing you can do for someone?
More from the Girlfriends
How can you encourage children to be generous? Arlene’s book Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman) will show you how to teach children gratitude and generosity. It’s the opposite of today’s entitlement spirit.