I didn’t grow up in a home steeped in Christian heritage. Instead, my childhood includes only a handful of memories that involve the church or religion. But in 1980, that all changed. My parents moved from having a distant relationship with God to a profound new life of walking with Christ.
This transformation brought many changes to our actions and attitudes—especially our attitudes about faith, finances and generosity. In fact, generosity became a new paradigm that our family grew into. We learned that giving to support the local church and beyond, out of a spirit of love and generosity, carried with it a real joy.
My mom was especially changed. As she grew into an abiding trust of God’s promises, she discovered a joy in giving without reservation or expectation that led to an even deeper pursuit of gratitude and generosity.
That feeling of joyfulness was also evident in our congregation. We learned firsthand that giving generously of time, talent and energy for the benefit of others gave us the satisfaction that we had made a difference.
We were encouraged and guided by the words of Paul: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (II Corinthians 9:7).
Now I have the privilege of working with others to help them learn about the joy of generosity. Some have small gifting accounts with which to make an annual donation to a charity that is important to them. Others give larger amounts. Still others have carefully mapped out a plan to make a significant contribution with a bequest.
But each of them is motivated by faithful generosity. Their faces light up when they talk about God’s generosity, and an undeniable sense of joy overtakes them as they tell their stories about sharing God’s goodness with others. The amounts and the methods of giving may vary, but the motivation is the same: God is good and we are privileged to share his goodness with others.
Where are you in your generosity journey? Have you experienced the deep-down joy of giving and living generously? Call us. We exist to walk with you along your journey of generosity.
Peter Dryden is a stewardship consultant in the Calgary, Alta., office of Mennonite Foundation of Canada. For more information on impulsive generosity, stewardship education, and estate and charitable gift planning, contact your nearest MFC office or visit MennoFoundation.ca.
--Posted Nov. 19, 2014