There’s something about Thanksgiving being just weeks away that gets us thinking about our perspective and attitude. Are we truly thankful? Instead of simply thinking about thankfulness and generosity more in the month of November, let’s use this as a time to not only search our hearts, but also start some habits that will grow a heart of generosity in us all year long.
When we think about different ways generosity can find its way into our daily, weekly, or monthly rhythms, we recognize generosity flows out of our money, yes, but also our resources, talents, and time. Here are some examples of ways you can be generous in those areas, both big and small.
When we think about generosity, this is usually the first thing that comes to mind. How can we use our finances to serve others? This looks different for everyone, so we’d encourage you to set aside time each month to really pray about where the Lord is leading you to give that month. A few small ways you can practice generosity with your money include paying for someone’s meal, leaving an extra large tip, buying a gift for someone “just because,” paying for someone to attend an event, or buying an extra book (or Bible study book) to give away.
We don’t always think about being generous with our talents, but we can often serve others by using our unique gifts. You could offer to make signs or address envelopes for a friend if you have amazing handwriting, sing with your church praise team, teach Sunday school or Bible study, help friends put together a budget or do their taxes, or bake bread or cookies for a new family in your area.
It may be that you have resources you can offer to others to serve and love them well. Your home, for example, is a resource you can use to invite people in; think about creating a diverse table of people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances. You can also donate gently used clothes and home items to a local ministry. In fact, cleaning out extra clutter each month can be a great habit to start a rhythm of generosity.
One of the most valuable things we can be generous with is our time. The reality is that so many of us are overbooked, but giving our time to someone can mean the world. Call your mom; invite someone for coffee just to chat (maybe someone new to town); visit someone who is homebound because of age, a new baby, or illness; offer to serve at church, your local school, or your neighborhood—these are a few ways to get you started.
If the idea of giving more time and resources feels overwhelming, remember: we aren’t trying to go on a generosity sprint. We’re trying to cultivate a heart that is generous in all seasons of the year. It’s ok to start small and maintain balance with your own needs. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you work to pace yourself and grow your generosity:
- Start small— Sometimes the small, private and/or anonymous acts can mean more than the big, public ones.
- Make it fun— Find ways to make it fun or exciting (i.e. pay for someone’s meal or coffee anonymously, pay for someones meal in the drive-thru line, be generous with your time listening to someone, etc.)
- Be creative— As we mentioned earlier, generosity doesn’t always mean money; it can be your time, energy, access to other people, etc.
- Surround yourself with generous people—This is a good way to learn by osmosis. When your friends are generous, kind, or hospitable, it’s easier for you to pick up their perspective.
What are some habits you’ve started that have helped cultivate a heart of generosity? What are some of your favorite ways to practice generosity all year long? We want to hear from you in the comments below!