Seven Ways to Practice Generosity Without Spending a Dime
Generosity is often viewed as sharing material or monetary gifts. There are plenty of very real barriers to that type of generosity, but we can always give of our selves. Whether you have a heart that longs to give more or you have a hard time being generous, we can all make choices that deliver love and kindness to others without costing us a penny.
Here are seven practical ways you can choose to be generous in your day-to-day life:
ONE: SHOW UP
Go to other people’s stuff. Support the people you love even if you’re not really into what they're doing. Be their biggest fan. Everyone needs someone to believe in them. Why not be that person for the people you love? Pour yourself into other people's work, passion, and dreams. It is so satisfying to know that your encouragement has spurred someone on to greatness.
Furthermore, be present when your people find themselves in times of need. Go to others when they simply need the comfort of your company. Remember that you carry with you the very presence of God. If you aren't sure what to say or do in the most difficult times, rely on the Spirit to work through you. You may only need to sit and be silent to let God minister through you. All you have to do is show up.
TWO: SERVE WHEN IT COUNTS
Do the thing that needs to be done even if you don’t want to do it. There is no act that is beneath you, no matter how high you climb by societal standards. Taking out trash, scrubbing toilets, changing bandages, filing papers, entering data... you get the point. If there is a need and no one to fulfill it, step up! This might mean sucking it up when someone is desperate for childcare, in need of a ride or a place to stay for a while, or scrambling to put on an event.
Look for ways to be of service to others and live from that posture. Let your constant thought process lead with, "How can I help?" Eventually, you will begin to notice other people's needs before they do. At that point you are winning at life. You've reached the top. You've achieved the highest status of being more concerned about others than yourself.
THREE: BE VULNERABLE
Being vulnerable may be the most generous practice of any listed here. It takes courage, humility, and strength of Spirit to practice vulnerability with pure motives. Our culture of pride and can-do attitudes has caused many to view vulnerability as weakness. Admittedly, when practiced with the wrong motives, it can be evidence of weakness in one's character. However, those who live their lives and engage in relationships with a commitment to vulnerability are often perceived as being the strongest and most admirable. People identify with those they admire. This means that vulnerability can sow seeds of empathy and empathy drives human connection.
Our ability to connect with and offer some part of ourselves to others really depends on our willingness to be seen for what we really are. Thankfully, vulnerability gets easier with practice. Getting good at being vulnerable will make this next act of generosity far easier.
FOUR: TELL THE TRUTH
There are times when the people closest to us are operating with unchecked blind spots. When you see what they can't see, don’t save yourself the trouble of saying the hard thing. As much as you may think that sparing them the pain of hearing the truth is "nice", it certainly isn’t kind. If you have a relationship with someone that permits feedback and feedback is warranted— give it.
Before you ever begin, pray for a heart to be helpful and that Jesus would do the talking. Be sure to examine your motives for any judgment, pride or hidden agenda. Measure your feedback against God's truth and let that be your guide. Take time to empathize and intercede. Try to sit on the other side of the conversation and experience the thing from their perspective. This will shape your messaging and your heart.
Remember to offer constructive ways to move forward. Don’t drop your observation like a judgment bomb and walk away. Stick around to walk it out with them. Be brave and check in with them later as well. Think of ways to come back to encourage, honor, and uphold.
FIVE: SHARE YOUR INSIGHT
If you've learned something that has changed the way you think or see God or understand life, please don't be stingy! A generous soul humbly shares God's gift of understanding and wisdom. You can do this in casual conversation, in your small group, on social media or another outlet you might have for sharing. Simply say what you've learned. God doesn't want us to put the insight He's given us in a box and bury it in the ground. The gift of sharing revelation can change a life!
SIX: LET GRACE FLOW
I never feel richer than I do when I've been shown grace and I know I don't deserve it. When someone chooses to see my value instead of my sin, I am overcome with gratitude. Withholding grace is the least generous (and least Christ-like) act we can engage in. Nothing will separate us from intimacy with Jesus faster than refusing to choose grace, forgetting our place of privilege. Sharing the grace Christ put in us through His Holy Spirit is the least we can do to show our gratitude for His sacrifice.
SEVEN: PRAY AND CHECK IN
When someone presents a prayer need, or when you simply detect one, don’t just say you’ll pray, actually pray! Like right then and there! Make their problem your problem and place it before the throne in faith. Stand in the gap for the weak and afraid. Speak bold prayers over those in need and then follow up with them to see how things are going. If the situation hasn't improved, keep praying.
The beauty of intercession is that it not only impacts the one you pray for, but it brings you into the presence of God, which inevitable transforms you in process. Why would we not allow this consume our days?
See? We have so much to give. Why not start now?
Written by Tia McNelly
blogging + coaching: tiamcnelly.com // @tiamcnellynotes
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