Generosity should be a characteristic of every follower of Christ. Every person has different challenges when it comes to being generous. It is easy to find a way to talk ourselves out of being generous. Some of the excuses I hear are things like:
- I may need this later
- They are going to waste it
- They don’t need it
- They can get help from the government
- They are lazy
You are not alone if you have used any of these rationalizations not to help someone in need. Occasionally they may be accurate. But generosity is more about the heart of the giver than the receiver. One of the biggest reasons we do not help others is that we feel like we do not have enough to solve the problem, or we do not have extra resources to give anything away. If you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling to be generous, think about these three ways to help people in need.
Give Them What You Have
They may be asking for money, and you may not have any extra money. But most of us have extra things. We usually have an abundance of food we can offer. We may have something that we could sell to help the situation, or we might consider giving them something that they could sell to raise money. It could be as simple as taking them to work or taking their kids to school. If you have it, it is much easier to give. Helping someone in need is not always about exchanging cash. Most people I know have more things than they need. Be creative, as my mom says. “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”
Teach Them What You Know
Knowledge is valuable. You may not have extra cash, but you certainly know some valuable things. You might have a skill that would improve their chances of getting a job if you taught them. You may be able to repair something that is broken instead of paying for it to be done. You may know how to create and live by a budget, and teaching them could very well solve most of their problems. You can teach someone how to prepare for a job interview. The list of things that you can teach others is endless. You know something they do not. Teach them. It very well may be the thing that solves their problem long term.
Take Them Where You Go
Barbara and I enjoy taking people’s places. There are things that people learn just by changing their location. Changing locations can create a perspective needed for solving problems. Take someone out with you on your boat or when you go shopping. They may see something, hear something, or meet someone that will be exactly what they need to improve their situation. Being the facilitator is essential. It usually costs nothing to bring people along on your journey. You are probably helping them more than you realize.
Don’t get trapped in a negative cycle that keeps you from being generous. There is a multitude of ways you can help people who are in need. Generosity benefits the giver more than the receiver. It breaks selfish traits that make us more like Christ. Practice generosity today.