We just finished the madness of dinner. I don’t know if dinnertime looks quite as disheveled at your house as it does at mine – but oh my. Over here, it’s basically a mad dash to fill each person’s needs
as quickly as possible before tears and shouts erupt. It is honestly exhausting. But somehow, once dinner is finished, everyone suddenly and magically changes their mood. Their needs have been met. And now they can suddenly see the other people that had been sitting at the table with them all along. They can play kindly together. They can speak encouraging words to one another. They help each other and offer compliments.
It’s incredible the changes in our attitude, our demeanor, once our need has been met.
O T H E R S > O U R S E L V E S
It seems opposite the world culture – this idea of serving others before ourselves, but it is possible. Important, even.
This constant putting others interests and needs before our own is most certainly difficult. It is an endeavor that runs against our very flesh. Our body shouts for more. Even beyond our bodily needs, we are naturally selfish. We search for praise, recognition, and love. All aimed at filling our own desires, forgetting and even minimizing the needs of those around us.
Ironically, as we fight to fill ourselves, we hurt those in our very communities. The people we care most about. No matter who you are: your age, your gender, your job; no matter the relationships you are in – you can be generous. So often we equate generosity with something big, something using all of our resources, something only those with extra can possibly do.
G E N E R O S I T Y I N O U R R E L A T I O N S H I P S
In motherhood, I have noticed that there are so many small areas that I can be generous. I can pause and give extra cuddles to my daughter. I can sit and read one more book before bedtime (or anytime really). I can whisper words of encouragement as Boy Child treads off to make new friends.I can give Man Child a bonus day to play video games. I can pause my house cleaning to play with Baby Boy.
I can be generous with my time when I wash the last dishes in the sink (knowing how much my husband loves a clean sink). I can give my time freely to a friend in need of community. I can lend a hand when a mom needs help with school pick ups. Even a simple cup of coffee is a generous way to show someone they are loved.
I see the small ways my children live out generosity. They share their bike with a neighbor. They include other children in their makeshift game at the park. They freely, and generously, open their hearts to those around them.
T H E F U L L N E S S O F G E N E R O S I T Y
Generosity is more about our hearts than about our actions. True generosity gives of ourselves freely. It does not measure the time or resources lost. It doesn’t keep track of the things that could have been done, had this person not been in need. It simply gives.
With each and every word I write, I find myself coming back to the One. One person, who lived generosity to the fullest.
He healed many.
“Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched Him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.” (Mark 1:41)
He met people where they were.
“When the crowds learned it, they followed Him, and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.” (Luke 9:11)
He taught with authority. He preached the Word. He preached His very self.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
He forgave sins:
“And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’…But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'” (Mark 2:5 + 10)
He fed people abundantly:
“And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
He raised people from the dead:
“And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” (Luke 7:14-15)
He gave Himself freely. Even unto death.
“Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this He breathed His last.'” (Luke 23:46)
“‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.'” (John 3:16-17)
And this is the generosity to which we are called. To love others as we love ourselves. To place others as more important than our very selves. To run contrary to what the world and our very flesh screams. To show a love so big, so vast, so full of mercy that others no longer see us but only see Him shining forth.
How are you generous? We love donating to organizations, friends in need, and ministries. But we believe it is important to be generous in our actions, of ourselves as well. So we live in community, we serve friends and neighbors, we volunteer with organizations. And we love.
Want to read more about #WholeMama? You should join us over at #WholeMama!
Here are my other #WholeMama posts:
Power to Flourish
Embracing the Mess of Me
Musings From the Sky: Thoughts on Prayer
Finding the Balance: Space & Community
Seeing Small: Embracing the Ordinary Moments
Laughter, Mom, & Poop