Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the power of generosity—mostly from the vantage point of how generosity is contagious. My thoughts have taken me back to a childhood memory with my great-grandmother on my mother’s side of the family. I was asking myself, when did I first see generosity and how did it impact me? Great-grandmother Marian DeMarco is who I remember influencing my view of generosity as a young child.
As she sat in her kitchen, I recall walking up to her with an “ever so childlike” wrapped gift, and handing it to her. She reached forward with her old hands and placed both of them on my checks and pinched me! “You’re so cute, Timmy,” she would say…and then she kissed my cheeks. My cheeks hurt from the pinching, but her kiss made them better.
The gift I brought her was still on her lap. After her greeting filled with love, she began to ask what was inside my wrapped gift. I tried to have my great-grandmother open it, but she kept asking what it was. She wanted to know so she could thank me. But, she would graciously give the gift away at another time—never having opened it herself. As long as I can remember, my great-grandmother gave away what was given to her.
When I open the Bible to search for God’s wisdom on this subject, my heart is moved by a short verse found in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This Scripture is clear in the order of the process of generosity. First comes the treasure; then follows the heart. Where the treasure goes, our heart follows. When we are giving the treasure, our heart goes with it. In essence, where our treasures are points to what we treasure most.
We often see generosity associated with money. But, there are other acts of generosity which become contagious. The first year we lived in Haiti, my parents took the young people from our first church and planted trees alongside the stream that flowed through their village. Today, those trees are mature, strong, and provide shade to those who sit beneath them. The generosity of planting those trees was contagious. The same is true for the well we drilled in the village of Neply. That very first well still provides fresh water to the community.
Generosity is an attitude, not an amount. Jesus reflected on this when He saw a poor widow put two small copper coins in the offering box. He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” The widow’s attitude and action showed everything she had belonged to God.
In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we read, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” This is an attitude, not an amount. It’s an attitude of gratitude. Give because you’ve been given to. I leave you with the words my great-grandmother would say to me: “Keep-a-go!” Don’t give up on giving because our giving is contagious—spreading from one life to the next.
Generosity started with God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believed in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God gave and His gift will keep on giving—forever! I encourage you to embrace the model of contagious generosity in your life and let God take your gift and spread it far and wide for greater impact.
P. S. I’m praying my life will model generosity, and lives around me will experience God’s love because of what I give.