The Generous Life

Its February now and Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog has seen his shadow promising us six more weeks of winter. Given the unusually warm winter most of the country is experiencing that might not be such a bad thing. By now the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are small blips in our rear view mirror as spring approaches. A common theme during the holidays is always giving, whether that is gifts to loved ones or giving of our time or resources to the less fortunate.

One of the most poignant statements from the holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life, was never actually spoken. “All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away” represented a life motto for George Bailey’s father as he fashioned his business around investing in the lives of others. At a time of crisis George would implement this motto and adopt it as his own creed, something that would turn out to be richly rewarding to him throughout his life.

Likewise, others have found that this notion of giving and generosity need not be limited to the holidays but can be part of our daily lifestyle. From the Giving Pledge where wealthy millionaires such as Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerburg pledge to give away most of their life fortunes to the Paying it Forward concept to charity work millions of Americans seek to give to the life of others. It’s important not just to think of generosity in a financial context. We might then be tempted to delay our generosity until we achieve abundance. Generosity can be shared through time, encouragement, conversations, friendships and many other ways often with those nearest to us.

For Christians the spirit of this motto is reflected in many places within the Bible but captured well in 2 Corinthians 9:16 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” This most often is the case through life as people welcome others who have giving spirits and their generosity typically opens doors or opportunity and relationship which previously might have remained closed.

In the end, most realize that no matter your belief, we can’t take our talents and possessions with us when life concludes. However our legacy of generosity can follow us. So pour into the lives of others and experience the rewards of making a difference in their life and your own. For it’s through giving that we receive.

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