Which comes first – generosity or wealth?
A couple weeks ago Joanne and I attended a 30-yr celebration and fund raising event for Mercy Ministries. The program took place as the very first event in the stunning ballroom in the brand new MusicCityCenter here in Nashville. The surroundings were gorgeous, the flowers were spectacular, the music second to none (CeCe Winans) and the host for the evening (Dave Ramsey) was entertaining and thought-provoking.
But the highlight for me was meeting lots and lots of people with big hearts and open pocketbooks. The attendees represented many countries, ethnicities, faith perspectives, and businesses. The one thing that connected them was their generosity. These are people who understand that water that stops flowing becomes stagnant, blood that stops moving begins to clot, and a person who only inhales will turn blue and pass out. I talked with a guy who has just purchased 9,000 acres in eastern Tennessee who wondered if I had any ideas about its potential use to benefit others.
The word “affluence” comes from the root word “affluere” which means to “to flow to.” It appears generous people have money flowing toward them. We all know the principle – it’s not new. “For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give – large or small – will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (Luke 6:38 TLB)
The night before this banquet Joanne and I had stopped in to deliver a car to a lady who lives in government housing with her three children. She warned us to lock our car although it was parked right in front of her apartment. She then carefully unlocked the three locks on her door to quickly allow us entrance. She asked if I would take her previous car and sell it from my yard – since a car for sale in her parking lot would be “stripped bare in 24 hours.” It seems many of those who have nothing look for opportunities to take from others. Makes you wonder which comes first – being broke or the attitude of taking from others.
We’ve all heard that having more money just makes you more of what you already are. If you are generous, having more will allow you to be more generous. If you are stingy, having more money will make you paranoid about people trying to get it.
I’m convinced you must think and act like a wealthy person before you’ll ever have the chance to be one. So how does that play out when you are struggling to pay your own rent?
Having a giving heart involves much more than writing big checks. The Law of Giving is actually very simple: if you want more joy, give joy to others. If you want love, learn to give love. If you want happiness, help others be happy. And yes, if you want material affluence, learn to help others become materially affluent.
Giving doesn’t have to involve material things. It could be a flower, a compliment, a word of encouragement, sitting with someone in grief or sadness, mowing someone’s yard, volunteering a morning to serve the hungry and homeless in your community, inviting someone to eat a meal at your table, or writing a note to share your thankfulness for someone’s friendship.
Our potential for wealth is not shown in our bank account as much as it is in the attitude of our heart. Give generously and “wealth” of all kinds will start to move toward you.
What ways of giving have you experienced that opened the doors to more of what you were moving toward?
Share this Post