It was a nail biter of a game. AR versus Ole Miss.
We thought our guy was about to be tackled when all of a sudden he tossed the ball backwards into the field of play. People all over the restaurant stood to their feet. They cheered when the ball was caught and the player started running down the field with it.
Luke and Jane were parked in my lap. Four-year-old Luke was tuned in to the game and the action going on all around us.
The player was tackled, but now the ball was within sight of the end zone. When the AR player made the final touchdown, we were 1 point ahead and most in the restaurant erupted in cheers.
“Did our guys win, Gaga?” Luke asked.
“They did!” I said.
Suddenly Luke looked up. “Gaga, is Ole Miss sad?”
“A little bit,” I replied. “They wanted to win too.”
“I hope they’ll be okay.”
Can I tell you something? This insight made my heart glad. Luke is only four (though he looks seven). One day he’ll be a man. One day he’ll make his mark on the world and on people.
The fact that there’s a tender generous spirit budding in the heart of this 4-year-old is something to celebrate.
Because generosity has gone missing in many ways in our culture.
We can be mean-spirited with each other and call it competition.
We can say things on the Internet that we’d never say in real life, and walk away saying we were just proving our point.
We can withhold kindness because we don’t feel like it.
We can hoard and collect material things, being sure to point out that we’ve earned it or to point out what others have and we do not — while ignoring the reality that we are well provided for compared to the majority of mankind in areas of food, education, and shelter.
We can be less than generous with our words, our appreciation, our kindness to those who live within our reach.
This lack of generosity is making an impact, and maybe this is where you think I’m going to talk about what you can do. But it just makes me look at my own heart.
Because these little people are watching me close. They are taking their cues from me and others around them, so I have to ask this question: Am I generous?
Generous: showing a readiness to give more of something than is expected or strictly necessary.
Living with a generous spirit begins inside of us.
It’s how we choose to view things — get more; earn more; pile it up; or what do you want to do with this, Lord?
It’s how we see people — me against them, I’m right so you must be wrong; or how I can understand where you are coming from?
It’s how we portray faith — I’m more righteous than you; you don’t fit in my world; how could God possibly love you when you do that; or I was a sinner and He scooped me up, and this is for you too.
And perhaps this is the part where we are the least generous. . . it’s how we treat those we say we love — no love for you today; I’m not feeling it; I reserve the best for those I don’t live with; don’t bother me; or you are always welcome in my arms and I appreciate the gift you are to me.
None of us get this down perfect. Yet this is my prayer.
Father, I desire a generous heart.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Proverbs 11:24-25 (ESV)
Let me go the opposite of culture and water others with unexpected words. Let me move beyond common thinking and give beyond the expected. If I’m tempted to hoard and hold tight and pinch and finagle, remind me that a rich life is one that gives freely.
For me, generosity is most important where I’m not “Suzanne Eller, author and speaker,” but in those more private places where I’m mom, wife, Gaga, and mother-in-law. It’s with these people that see me at my worst (I have serious bedhead, people) and still love me like crazy.
It’s with the people who will matter in the end, far more than anything else.
What might happen if we begin to ask God for a generous heart? Where do you sense would begin His work first? What does it look like for you to live with a generous spirit?
Today is #livefreeThursday. We are talking all day long about a “generous spirit.” I can’t wait to begin this conversation!
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