Saturday, 7 October 2017


Catching up on a post from breakfast a while back: thoughts on being generous...

Generosity (also called largess) is the virtue of not being tied down by concerns about one's possessions.[1]Often it means to provide help to others by giving them an (usually precious) item without thinking twice. 


It is sometimes used in the meaning ofcharity(thevirtueofgivingwithout expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need). 
In times ofnatural disaster, relief efforts are frequently provided, voluntarily, by individuals or groups acting unilaterally in making gifts of time, resources, goods, money, etc. 
Generosity is a guiding principle for many registeredcharities,foundationsandnon-profit organizations. 
Generosity can also be spending time, money, or labor for others without being rewarded in return. 
Although the term generosity often goes hand-in-hand with charity, many people in the public's eye want recognition for their good deeds. Donations are needed to support organizations and committees, however, generosity should not be limited to times of great need such as natural disasters and extreme situations. 
Generosity is not solely based on one's economic status, but instead, includes the individual's pure intentions of looking out for society's common good and giving from the heart. Generosity should reflect the individual's passion to help others. 
The modern English word "generosity" derives from the Latin word generōsus, which means "of noble birth," which itself was passed down to English through the Old French word généreux. The Latin stem gener– is the declensional stem of genus, meaning "kin," "clan," "race," or "stock," with the root Indo-European meaning of gen being "to beget." The same root gives us the words genesis, gentry, gender, genital, gentile, genealogy, and genius, among others. 
Most recorded English uses of the word "generous" up to and during the Sixteenth Century reflect an aristocratic sense of being of noble lineage or high birth. To be generous was literally a way of complying with nobility." 
During the 17th Century, however, the meaning and use of the word began to change. Generosity came increasingly to identify not literal family heritage but a nobility of spirit thought to be associated with high birth— that is, with various admirable qualities that could now vary from person to person, depending not on family history but on whether a person actually possessed the qualities. In this way generosity increasingly came in the 17th Century to signify a variety of traits of character and action historically associated (whether accurately or not) with the ideals of actual nobility: gallantry, courage, strength, richness, gentleness, and fairness. In addition to describing these diverse human qualities, "generous" became a word during this period used to describe fertile land, the strength of animal breeds, abundant provisions of food, vibrancy of colors, the strength of liquor, and the potency of medicine. 
Then, during the 18th Century, the meaning of "generosity" continued to evolve in directions denoting the more specific, contemporary meaning of munificence, open–handedness, and liberality in the giving of money and possessions to others. This more specific meaning came to dominate English usage by the 19th Century. Over the last five centuries in the English speaking world, "generosity" developed from being primarily the description of anascribed statuspertaining to the elite nobility to being an achieved mark of admirable personal quality and action capable of being exercised in theory by any person who had learned virtue and noble character (Smith 2009). 
Generosity in religions[edit] 
InBuddhism, generosity is one of theTen Perfectionsand is theantidoteto the self-chosenpoisoncalledgreed. 
Generosity is known asCharityin the Bible, andDaanin the Eastern Religious Scriptures. 
InIslamQuran states that whatever we give away generously, with the intention of pleasing God, He will replace it. God knows what is in the hearts of men. Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and also restricts it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in God’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.” (Quran 34:39) 
InChristianity, theBook of Actsstates thatJesussaid that giving is better than receiving (Acts 20:35). 
Generosity in knowledge[edit] 
  • Missionary Church of Kopimismsays that all knowledge is for everyone and copying/sharing information is sacred. 
  • According to the Bible, having all the knowledge in the world is useless, without the desire for charity (sharing): 
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 
And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge, and in all understanding 
— Douay-Rheims: Philippians 1:9[2] 

God's abundant generosity

When people give extravagantly, what is their reward? See Luke 6:38

Generous with their money: Mary's gift: expensive perfume, equivalent to a week’s wages. Over the top, abundant generosity. 

Generous with family: Hannah's sacrifice: the child she had longed for, which God gave her, she gave back to God. 

Generous with time: Anna, a prophetess at the time of Jesus’s birth who spent her days at the temple, praising and worshipping God. 

Generous with friendship: Jonathan risked his father’s wrath by helping David.  

Generous with help: the Good Samaritan 

Generous with reputation: Ruth, Mary.

Generous when there could be no rewards: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, risking reputations and in danger of being ostracised for acting on behalf of a dead 'criminal'.

We love because God first loved us. 
We give because God first gave us. 

From 40Acts: Act sixteen – Beyond by Nadia Hussain

"Jesus didn't settle for 'just enough' or the wine at the wedding would have been drinkable rather than top quality. So today, scale it up! Don't measure out the generosity – go large. 

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us; that we should be
called children of God."
(1 John 3:1 NIV)

When generosity goes 'beyond' it somehow stays with us, like an indelible mark. Like the time the girl standing behind me in the lunch queue covered the bill without hesitation when she saw that I hadn't enough money to buy my lunch. Or the time I visited Thailand for 3 weeks and stayed with a lady who housed and discipled 16 teenage girls in a two-bedroom flat. This lady shared absolutely everything she owned with the girls. Her generosity went well beyond our expectation, hosting dinner each night for us when she barely had enough food for herself.
Just last summer I was having pancakes with a large group of young students and when it came to paying the bill, we learnt that one of the students had paid for the entire group's drinks and meals with the very little money he had.

1 John 3:1 talks of our identity as Children of God; we are those who have been lavishly loved through Jesus. It also gives us reason to believe that our generosity should therefore be lavish. To be lavish with what you have is to give open-handedly and abundantly. Radical generosity is the surrender of our time, talents, and treasures as an act of love to others, without expecting anything in return.

I wonder what our culture would look like if we were lavish in our generosity, going beyond expectation simply because we love other people rather than as a response. It might look different in each individual's life and context, but it would be an incredible witness of the Father's love to our friends. I challenge you to bless someone unexpectedly this week. Wherever you are, go beyond their expectation, step out of your comfort zone and really surprise someone, or some group, with God's overflowing love and grace.

Today's blog was written by Nadia Hussain from More Precious."