5 small steps to a more generous 2014

By Charlie Osewalt | 31 December 2013

5 small steps to a more generous 2014

How do you begin a journey? One step at a time. You start with small steps; yet with the end in mind.  Ecclesiastes 7 v8a puts it well: The end of a matter is better than its beginning. So, for the next 40 days let’s try five ‘bite-sized’ steps towards being more generous.

Let’s start with the endpoint:

1. Reflect: who are you giving to and why?

Reflection is the usually a last step on a journey and comes toward the 'end' of a project, major life event or a point of personal crisis. Reverse this. Start 2014 by reflecting: Who am I giving generously to and why? Write your response down in no more than two sentences.

2. Plan a small gift beyond your regular giving

Make a plan to give consistently even if it is £1 or 20p a day: be consistent. Keep track; tick it off and plan to do it daily.  As a bright 11 year once told me about how she saves, 'take care of the pence and the pounds take care of themselves.' At the end of 40 days: give what you’ve saved away. Where? Go back to your reflection and give this extra to who you desire to give. This amount is the overflow – above and beyond  your usual giving.

3. Plan a spontaneous gift

Take a small jam jar (after it has been emptied and cleaned of course) and put an amount of loose, end-of-the-day change in it.  Any amount, every day. After 40 days, look for someone, a person or event that needs encouragement. Pray about it and then give the contents away (anonymously, if you can and maybe convert the change into larger denominations for the person’s convenience!).  Add a brief note, like: ‘God asked me to give this to you.’

4. Give your time

Think of a way you can be generous in sharing your time with others.  Every day, commit a chunk of time to someone else: phone a friend, speak to a neighbour, listen to a colleague, visit someone who is housebound, help with a chore – the list is endless.   But don’t stop there – offer to pray for them too, for 40 days.

5. Encourage

Last but certainly not least, write an encouraging email to 40 different people each day for 40 days. It doesn’t have to be long. I usually write a Bible verse but it doesn’t have to be a scripture. At the beginning of the day, a simple ‘I am thinking of you.’ or, I am praying for you.’ can be lift for another. Send it early in the morning, or at the end of the evening. Just be consistent, each day for 40 days.

Taking these small steps is like a daily exercise in generosity. Giving creates joy.  Feel His love and his joy when you give in this way, for ‘God loves a cheerful giver.' (2 Corinthians 9 v7 b).

 

Consider: How many small steps will I take in 2014 and where might I end up?

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Read more like this:

Generous Children

No man is an island

Steadfast under trials - podcast from The Tron Church

 

photo used under Creative Commons Licence by  Marcel "MadJo" de Jong

Posted by Charlie Osewalt

Charles Osewalt is a husband, father of four children and former elder at Redeemer Church NYC. He has worked in schools for the last twenty years as principal in the Morrisanna section of the Bronx. He formerly worked as a content and curriculum specialist for Stewardship. He tweets at @charlesosewalt

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