How to Show Generosity

By Kathy Ferguson Litton

Generosity is not only about money. There is more than one currency. Let your generosity be pervasive in life. — Tim Keller

The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. — Proverbs 11:25

Have you ever needed to revise a definition? I have. I had created a very narrow definition for the word generosity. I had pigeonholed it as only coming in the currency of the material- either money or things. Yet the people that I saw as generous—meaning “liberal in giving or sharing” did so in MANY kinds of currency: words, kindness, grace, hugs, time, care, interest and presence.

At a dear friend’s birthday celebration we all honored her by using only one word. I chose generous.

This word suggests a hand wrapped gift or monetary gesture. Those acts do mark your life yet those things fail to touch the depths of your generosity.

Paul describes generosity in 2 Timothy, “to give freely, share richly.” I have been the recipient of your rich sharing. You live your life open-handedly. You do not clutch for yourself your faith, your knowledge, your time, your friends, your care or your possessions. You are free with words of praise and support.

Whoever you meet whether young or old, prominent or unknown, with means or without will be welcomed with your generous warmth, kindness and respect. You freely give upon acquaintance a listening ear, unfeigned interest and engaging humor. Quickly you make people feel comfortable and genuinely valued.

Ladies, people are attracted to that.

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a generous woman.

There is nothing quite as unattractive as one who hoards.

We hoard when we receive but do not give.

The currency of generosity is diverse.

We should not long for these things we should GIVE them:

  • Care
  • Comfort
  • Hope
  • Assistance
  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Presence
  • Wisdom
  • Timely financial help
  • Interest
  • Unfailing love
  • Honor
  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Time
  • Empathy
  • Listening
  • Shared tears
  • Encouragement
  • Insight
  • Laughter
  • Joy
  • Compliments
  • Grace
  • Help

The smallest gesture can be a profound moment.

“What’s in your wallet?”

To the checker at Target –“Those earrings are adorable.”  The currency of a compliment.

16-year-old boy who just dinged your car. “I understand. I backed into my sister’s car when I was 16.”  The currency of empathy.

To the elderly woman in nursing home where your dad is living? You help her tie those shoes she struggles to reach. The currency of assistance.

Helping a young mother traveling alone carrying her things and three kids across an airport. The currency of help.

Attending a young leader’s big presentation. The currency of presence.

Do these gestures seem small in the backdrop of the “bigger” things we do as spiritual leaders? They are not. Maybe they are the most sincere outgrowth of the life of Christ inside of us. Genuine, unconscious and spontaneous care seem to mark His life.

We are saying in these moments: “I see you” and “I care.” People are more desperate for it than we can imagine. The known and unknown souls in our pathways.

Slow down and look around: At the store, at the bus stop, see the young mother herding children, senior pushing her walker, homeless woman in McDonalds, five year old girl who lost her first tooth, perfect stranger crying in hospital waiting room and thousands of other scenes–INSERT GENEROSITY.

 “Freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8

My paraphrase of this: “Don’t hoard what you have received.”

How can you show generosity today?

Published November 24, 2014

P.S. Get our best content in your inbox

We send one email per week chock full of articles from a variety of Send Network voices.

Kathy Ferguson Litton

Kathy lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband Ed, pastor of Redemption Church. Both lost former spouses in car accidents, and God uniquely gave them new love and life together in 2009. Kathy enjoyed 26 years of life and ministry alongside Rick Ferguson. She has three children and ten grandchildren. Presently she serves as Director of Planting Spouse Development.