by Mary Beth Chapman, Co-founder, Show Hope
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 enriched. — Proverbs 11:24–25
I’ve taken several walks lately, when the air has felt more “fall-ish.” And now that autumn is officially upon us, for some reason, generosity has been on my heart and mind. For most, when asked the question “Are you generous?” We think of it in terms of finances. We write our checks, and we move on to the next thing. But as I have taken these strolls, I’ve found myself asking God, “What does it look like to live generously in all aspects of life?”
I have to admit, my first thoughts were rather selfish … That would be hard. Do I have to? How am I supposed to be a generous wife, parent, daughter, grandparent, friend, or co-worker?
To live with a generous spirit, in theory, sounds glorious, yet I know, personally, it’s a daily challenge. We tire … we grow weary … we want what we want when we want it. Yet scripture reminds us of the way we should live—and that is open-handed with kindness and generosity.
How do I SEE my friend who is hurting before she or he tells me and let her or him know I am here? What does it look like to come home—exhausted and with a heavy heart—at the end of the day yet still ask my husband about his day and listen to his needs before mine? What does it look like to set aside time each day to check in on our aging parents? To know that a co-worker needs a helping hand? How do we offer this longing for generosity as an extension of the Holy Spirit’s work in, with, and through us?
It must be much like athletes and muscle memory. When athletes work at their sports over and over again, certain muscles just remember what to do, allowing these women and men to essentially become automatic in how they respond in their sports.
One cannot outgive God, though. He has been so gracious to me, and there is no way I could give more than what He has given me. So that is the longing of my heart … to become so aware and intune with the goings-on around me … for my immediate response to any need or request to be a generous answer. Whether it be generosity in finances, time, help, or whatever really, I want others to know I SEE them and I care. It’s not always my first response, but I do long for it to be.
I am thankful God is patient, and yes, He is still generous toward me with these life lessons. Just think what kind of world we would live in if our first and only response was a generous one.
Mary Beth Chapman is a New York Times’ best-selling author, speaker, and the wife of GRAMMY® and Dove Award-winning recording artist, Steven Curtis Chapman. She is also Show Hope’s Co-founder and Chairman of the Board. Mary Beth delights in overseeing the work of Show Hope as she continues to do all she can to help restore hope to children living as orphans. Learn more at marybethchapman.com.