I believe that generosity is mostly a learned behavior. While it is true that it is one of the spiritual gifts, it is also something that we grow into over time.
There are at least 3 characteristics that someone needs to have to be generous and live generously. These traits are fundamental to a heart for generosity.
Generosity is grounded in the past. It is critical to have a spirit of gratitude for all that God has done for us.
While it is easy to focus on what we don’t have, God wants us to be grateful for what we have—and be grateful to the one who has provided everything we have.
This is not just about material blessings. From the critical (our life) to the basic essentials (a meal when we are hungry), God has provided everything.
Are we living with gratitude every day?
In order to be generous, we need to be content with what we have—and with not striving for more.
If we are always looking to gain more time and treasure, it becomes very difficult to give freely of our time, talent, and treasure.
Contentment is a present state of being, an acceptance of the reality of where you are now. It does not involve looking back with regret or pride, nor does it involve looking forward with desire or fear.
It involves being present in the moment and feeling blessed with where God has you.
Trust is an emotion that’s focused on the future.
Trust in God to provide. Trust that God will be with us always and provide for us no matter what we say or do.
Trust is built on faith, and faith is believing without the benefit of seeing. So we must have faith in order to trust. If we don’t trust that God will provide, we will have a difficult time being generous.
With that, we have a perfect recipe for a generous person:
- Gratitude for past blessings
- Contentment for what we currently have
- Trust in God for the future
I believe that all of these qualities can be learned, exercised, and grown over time with the help of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, prayer, time in God’s word, and time with other believers provide the environment for these characteristics to flourish.
May God bless you as you seek to live a life of generosity.