This week, we kick off a brand new series on generosity titled Heart & Wallet. The end of the year is notorious for focusing on giving and giving back, especially as many people explore tax donations for the end of the year.
For the past year or so, I have been participating in the Focus Course Academy. This is a course (or rather an ecosystem) focused on helping participants live a focused life.
In addition to course materials, I meet weekly (for the most part) with a small group of folks as we share our pursuit to live a focused life. We lovingly call ourselves the “treehouse” group.
Over the past year, we have become like a second family, a community of sorts from all walks of life. We have shared in each other’s wins and walked with each other through moments of grief. This is life, and I am blessed to be a part of this community.
As part of the Focus Course Academy, we focus on the values we possess or aspire towards.
One of my core values is generosity. I love being generous, and I am over the moon about this new series.
This series is,
More about your heart than your wallet.
What I mean is…if your heart is in the right place, what’s in your wallet (or virtual wallet) will follow. It is not about keeping up with the Jones’ or outdoing the Jones’. It’s about how you grow as a person through being generous.
End of the year giving is in full swing. Some are looking for tax advantages, while others open up their wallets to give a little something extra after a tough year.
What Makes a Generous Person?
What makes a generous person? Who is a generous person? What do they look like?
Good news – anyone can be generous. If we focus on the phrase I shared earlier – “Generosity is more a matter of the heart than your wallet” – the door is wide open for someone to be generous.
As a believer in Christ, I have the spiritual gift of giving. This means my heart is bent towards generosity at the outset. I have to be careful that my heart for generosity does not get the best of me as I want to help to a fault. I have to protect my boundaries, and that is often difficult.
Here’s some more good news – there is no one-size-fits-all for generosity; if there were, the world would be boring.
“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
As I said above, generosity is a matter of the heart, not the wallet. You can give in many ways, here are a few:
- Making and bringing a meal to someone
- Sending a note or a card
- Washing someone’s car
- Doing the dishes for your parents
- Leaving a big tip for your server
- Send a text or call someone
- Make your gift
- Serving at a local non-profit
- Giving to an organization close to your heart
Do You Consider Yourself Rich?
Do you consider yourself rich? Think about that for a moment. For you, what does it mean to be rich?
Is it having more than your neighbor? Is it having a pool? Is it eating out three nights a week? Is it having a million dollars?
Here’s a bit of a head twister – you are rich!
When compared to the majority of the world, most of us are in the top 2% of the wealthiest people in the world.
In America, you might be in the upper 40% of the income-producing folks in the country. You might not see yourself as “rich” or “wealthy.” Too many times, I have found myself asking, what if I had just a little bit more money.
Money is a tricky thing. We need it to survive. We need to pay the bills, buy groceries, care for the sick, and pay for school.
Money can either be a necessary evil or a blessing. Which is it for you?
Every year, I participate in NorthPoint Community Church’s Be Rich campaign. It started nearly 15 years ago. Andy Stanley, the Lead Pastor, began this campaign for his church to give back to the local community.
The stories are incredible. The church asks these non-profits, schools, shelters, and other groups what would be on their dream list. Their needs often include higher staff, paying operating costs, purchasing vehicles, and the like.
These things are not sexy, but they are needed. They have found that donors typically like to give directly to work that “gets things done” or has a “direct impact” on the communities they serve.
The non-sexy operating costs rarely get funding support without a lot of help and prayer. What is excellent about the Be Rich campaign is the church doesn’t set a financial goal to attain; instead, they focus on 100% participation.
This year, they anticipated the participation of nearly 77,000 people in this campaign. The organization vets around $3 million worth of projects plus another couple of million dollars worth of projects if folks are “extra” generous.
COVID has challenged many non-profits and participants alike. NorthPoint encourages each participant to give $39.95 – that’s it. This is what is cool. If 77,000 people each give just $39.95, they will raise a little over $3 million.
The Challenge – Heart vs. Wallet
I want to challenge you this week. I want you to look at generosity with a fresh set of eyes. I want you to ask yourselves a couple of questions:
- How am I generous?
- What was my last act of generosity?
- How did you feel about your last generous act?
As you think about this phrase this week,
Generosity is more about your heart than your wallet.
Use this phrase to help guide you to the answers to the questions above. For those worried about what the right answer is, here’s more good news. There are no wrong answers.
This challenge is about you looking inward and thinking about how you can move it outward. Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost upon us, and God may be working in your heart to make a difference in someone’s life this season. When you began the year, you may not have thought about this.
As someone who is naturally bent towards generosity, it’s hard for me to turn it off. Most times, I have to keep it in check in a good way.
As an example, this year, I split my Be Rich donation in a couple of ways. One part went directly to the campaign. And the other part went to a non-profit that God laid on my heart.
God has a way of maximizing your generosity that benefits the receiver as much as the giver.
Next week, we look at purposeful giving and generosity. Until then, I encourage you to dig into the three questions above.
Please keep this in mind as you explore these questions,
- There are no wrong answers
- Be honest with yourself
- Do not feel guilty about your answers
I want to encourage you and help you realize that we are rich, and we all have benefited from the generosity of others.
As the Lord leads this week, be looking for a way to be generous to those around you and have fun doing it.
Be creative. Do something unexpected. Be generous.
Lord, thank you for showing us a model of generosity. Please help us be creative and generous to those around us. Thank you for your love and generosity towards us. Please give us wisdom as we explore the questions that drive us towards being generous. Amen!
- How To Be Rich – Andy Stanley (book)
- Be Rich Campaign
- 2021 Be Rich Message – Andy Stanley (NorthPoint Community Church)
- 2021 Be Rich Celebration Message – Andy Stanley (NorthPoint Community Church)
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