Do you consider yourself a generous person? Would other people say you are a generous person? There have been a lot of studies done that show generous people are often happier people. Most people think it’s hard to be generous. If you are on a fixed income, limited income, low income there isn’t as much to go around. So our generosity tends to be limited. We succumb to what the marketing gurus tell us we need to be happy and we fill our lives with stuff. The cycle goes on and on. We have some money, we want to get some stuff, we buy the stuff, we don’t have enough money left, we put some more stuff on credit, we pay our credit down but not all the way, we get paid, we get some more stuff and the cycle repeats.
Someone told me once about giving to my church and they said, “Remember God doesn’t need any money. God doesn’t want you to give out of obligation or duty or pressure. God loves cheerful givers. The reason we give is because God wants us to learn to be generous because generous people are happy people and God wants us to be happy.” Wow, that was a revelation. God wants to teach us how to be generous.
So along came this idea. It’s called the 10-10-80 rule. First, you give 10% of your money away to a charitable cause, like your church. Then you pay yourself 10% because you want to be responsible and have some money put away for a rainy day or for retirement later on. Finally, you live on the 80% that remains. It may seem hard at first, especially if you have a job that doesn’t pay that well. Then debt is a cruel mistress. It can rob you of joy and generosity. Americans are swimming in debt because they want the American Dream but they want it faster than previous generations or they can’t find the kinds of jobs that pay like they did a generation before. So they go into debt beyond their means.
Yet, millions of immigrants come to American and hold down multiple jobs to chase the dream. Some sacrificing for future generations by denying themselves. My point is learn generosity. It is a better way to live. Giving it away for a cause can be one of the most satisfying things you do. Start small at first but plan on growing. Let’s say you give away 2% this year and save 3%. On a salary of $35,000 that would mean you give away $700.00 and you save $1,050.00 so you live on $33,250. Each year you aim higher.
What happens? People recognize you are a generous person. You are a giving individual. You’re making a difference. You are happier. What an amazing adventure you have just begun. Go and read about some of the most generous people in the world. Some of them came from very lowly beginnings but they aspired to more and they inspired others. A generous spirit will often be noticed and you may be on the rise to greater opportunities.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.” When I read this I think of Jesus coming to bring faith and hope to people and not more religion. The best Church is one that really cares about the community they live in. They are people who are the Church and others see the Church as a generous faith community.
Patch Adams, American physician and social activist who was once portrayed by Robin Williams, said, “If we don’t change from a world society that worships money and power to one that worships compassion and generosity, I think we’ll be extinct …” Generosity separates us for everything else in creation – it makes us unique. Our personal story is better when we are generous people. Try it today in your life, at your Church, in your community; give away a percentage, save a percentage, and live on less, grow each year, and see how your life changes for the better.