Generosity and Success

The two words in the title, when considered together, usually go against logic and reason. How could they work together? Regular Math says when you give, you have less, and logic comes along and says how could one be more successful if they give away what is theirs. Why should you share, and why would that make you successful? 2 Corinthians 9: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. You reap what you sow.

Let’s look at how sowing generously will help you lead a successful life.

First, let’s address the question, why give?

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Giving turns your focus outward

The author Jacques-Yves Cousteau says, “It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” Melodious music comes when people playing different parts come together to perform in unison. A solo performance becomes dull after a while.

The gift you have becomes more meaningful when it is shared with others. Insulin was discovered by Sir Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best, and JJR Macleod and subsequently purified by James B Collip. These men decided to make their invention available to the public free of charge. Before this invention, a person with type 1 diabetes had a life expectancy of 1 to 2 years, but now with insulin, their life expectancy is drastically improved.

Generosity helps you overcome selfishness by turning your attention to others.

Generosity adds value to others

In the previous example, we saw the invention has helped millions of people live long, meaningful lives. When you use the skills you have developed to help others, you are helping others reach their potential. With generosity, you could end up with a forest. You are then preparing a fertile land around you where the tree around you grows and yields more fruit.

US President Woodrow Wilson said it this way: “You are not here merely to make a living. …you are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. Think for a moment about the people in your life.  Do they grow as a result of your acquaintance? or do they grow despite your acquaintance?

Generosity helps you

Bible is filled with verses talking about the benefits you have when you are generous.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Psalm 112:5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Proverbs 11:25 The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

How big is your world?

When one brings up the topic of generosity, the standard objections are as follows:

I don’t have enough – I barely meet my needs myself; how can I give to others? The promise you need to hold onto is found in Philippians 4:19, And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Why can’t others who have enough do more? – this argument is commonly used to direct the conversation from self to others. Trying to answer others who are not present in the conversation will only lead to meaningless words spoken between two people who could do something of worth in that time.

The Bible is plain; your actions affect your quality of life. 2 Corinthians 9: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Mother Theresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” What can you do is the question? It is not about others; it is about you.

The reason we fall back on these two reasons is that money is almost always associated with generosity. Yes, money usually is given when there is a need. Author Bruce Larson says, “Money is another pair of hands to heal and feed and bless the desperate families on earth” also that “a man’s money is an extension of himself.” He explains that money is his other self, and money can go where he does not have time to go or have a passport to go to another country.

There is yet another critical thing that you can give, i.e.,  your time and attention. Either you could volunteer your time to be of service, or you can develop new skills to share more of your knowledge and experience and add value to the lives of others. You can do this even if you don’t have the money.

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” —Simone Weil

Adding value to other’s lives is a conscious effort. John Maxwell shares 4 things one needs to do to add value in other’s lives.

  1. Value people – if you don’t value others, you will not add value to them. You need to remember that all are children of God. They are in this world for a reason, and you can help them find theirs.
  2. Know what they value – People will be willing to receive what they think they want and need, not anything you have prepared to give them. Taking the time to understand what is significant for the person you are looking to add value will yield the best results.
  3. Make yourself more valuable – when you add more skills to your portfolio, you can be of service to more individuals in varied circumstances.
  4. Do things that God values – God loves you unconditionally and gives you all your needs, so you must return the favor by serving others.

Reflection: What is your reason to give?

Think of yourself as a tree. In Genesis, we read God’s command to us, “Be fruitful” A tree bears fruit for others. Your fruits are for others. When others have consumed your fruits, your seeds get planted in others’ lives, and they grow into more trees and yields fruits. Pretty soon, you will be able to see the fruits in the lives of others because of your labor. The result is a forest filled with trees bearing your fruits.

The purpose of generosity is summarized perfectly by Rabbi Harold Kushner. He says, “The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you brought to other people’s lives than you will from the times you outdid and defeated them.”

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