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Spurring each other on to reckless generosity

By Joel Leakey | 14 November 2018 | Comments (1)

One of the things I love about generosity is that it’s always available to us. The worst kind of day can happen, you can stub your toe, work can be rubbish, the dog can vomit on the rug – and you can still walk out the door and practice generosity. The door never closes on generosity, and the chance to make someone else’s life better is always there. It’s always an option.


But I want to get better at taking that generous option. I want to make it an instinct. The best way I have of doing this is, honestly, copying my friends. To be frank, I’m not fantastic at this whole generosity thing yet, and I have friends who are consistently better, smarter, and kinder. Rather than getting competitive, I’m trying to see this an opportunity to borrow from them. I love getting around friends who are different from me, seeing how they practice generosity, and then firing myself up to practice generosity like they do. You can pick up a lot of heart and habit from others.


I have a friend whose generosity terrifies me, because she’s much braver than I am.


The other day she was at home when a man’s van broke down outside her house. She went outside to investigate, and found a guy standing there frustrated as he realised he wouldn’t be able to move on for a few hours. Rather than getting annoyed at him standing right outside her house, or retreating right back indoors (the sensible thing to do), she took out a couple of garden chairs, some water, and talked with the guy for a while. She was wise enough to get nearby friends to come over, too, for safety. But as soon as they did, she ran around the corner and got £200 from an ATM to help the guy out with his truck repairs. He was so struck by the generosity that it opened up a conversation about Jesus, too.


Often, when I hear a story like that, two things happen.


First, I think – wow, that’s a little unsafe and crazy. Secondly, I think, well, would I ever have the guts to do something that brave and generous all at once? Sure, I can spur myself to kindness every now and then, and I can be courageous when it’s needed, but to do both at once and instinctively? That’s something for other people, for the elite Christian squad, the first couple centuries of the early Church probably, and apparently now my friend too.


But the challenge right then, right as I hear that story, is to flip the script on my response. Rather than getting impressed, self-doubting, and sneakily envious, I can say to myself: ‘Here’s something that’s available to me too. I can be generous like that, because now I’ve seen it, and I know what it might look like for me to try.’


Because I believe that Jesus has called us, His followers, to look like Him, then every act I see my brother or sister do is something that’s available for me too. It’s built in by design. So then, when I hear a story like that, I can either think, ‘Great, but that’s just not who I am,’ or, ‘Okay, I can be proud for my friend, but if I lean in I can catch this for myself.’ Sure I’m not naturally kind and brave like that, not yet. But my friend’s story reminds me that, actually, I’m made to be. We each get to share in the incredible community of Jesus’ goodness, and what’s available to her is available to me – a kind of common wealth that every believer has access to.


Let’s deliberately forget, then, whatever hang-ups we have with generosity – fears of being ‘sensible’, fears that we’re faking generosity, worrying that we’re just pretending to be a better person. Let’s drop those, because the more we forget and let ourselves freely be generous without overthinking, the more we realise that, actually, we were made for this. This is something that should feel deep-down joyous to me, because it is instinctive to who I am. I was designed to live this way. It might not always feel natural, but I can realise that God has absolutely built this into the core of who I am. 


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Posted by Joel Leakey

Joel Leakey is a freelance writer based out of Northern Ireland. You can follow him on Twitter at @joelleakey, but he warns you it's mostly puns.



November 17, 2018 4:27 PM
I liked that story! Very inspiring!

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