I have been a writer, editor, manager and a life-long spiritual searcher, so when all this began, it somehow felt like the natural next thing to do.
So here’s my story: More than two years ago, my husband, was heading up a team to develop an arm of the National Christian Foundation in Indiana. As he stood on a ladder, trimming our arborvitae he was deep into having a conversation with God about how to promote generosity among Christians.
This is not something he normally does. I mean usually it’s a one-way, conversation, but today it became a two-way discussion, which I was made aware of because he climbed down off his ladder and came into the kitchen where I was washing the dishes to tell me what God had said.
He reported—most excitedly—that God had told him He didn’t just want Jim to teach Christians about being generous. God had said He wanted Jim to teach all people about generosity. Meanwhile I was smiling at him with eyebrows raised and a wide grin… My face was kind of stuck that way—like I was looking at a man telling me that he was now going to pull a bowling ball out of his shirt pocket.
But Jim wasn’t giving up. He explained that we would be writing a book about generosity and it would feature not only why we give, but how to give and would feature the tenets of all the major religions—even atheists and agnostics. That word “we” really stood out to me.
My smile started to fade at that point. He was dead serious and before long had dived head first into research and statistics and the (actually fascinating) principles that every one of these major religions and thought groups has on the subject of being generous. Who knew?
Jim did most the research, and I did the lion’s share of the writing, but we both did a lot of everything and it not only gave us a chance to work together, it also educated us on so many levels. And so it was that writing the book itself became a gift.
We were able to find and tell some amazing stories of things ordinary people have done and are doing to help others who are not as fortunate as they are. We were inspired every day by the creativity and determination of people who are not rich—not even a little wealthy—whose idea and action made a difference in one person’s world or the lives of many people.
Now, that our book, “World-Changing Generosity”, is out, the response has been amazing. And for me (the person who was afraid that writing about Wiccans and Spiritualists would be too shocking to many readers) it has been a happy surprise to find out that, for many, that’s the most interesting part of the book.
Meanwhile, the book has refocused my own thoughts in the area of giving as well. Everywhere you look, the design and function of the world is circular. Seed is planted, the very circular route of the sun shines down on it and the seed takes root and blooms, making more seed of its own, and then it dies back into the earth to reappear again in the very circular nature of our seasons.
Giving is the same. As we plant seeds we always have a harvest and interestingly, we harvest what we have sown. Being generous makes others more generous to us as well. Giving encouragement enables us to reap armloads of encouragement from others. Kindness begets kindness. And, best of all is the deeply rooted satisfaction that generosity emits in our lives. Like a plant whose roots break apart even the hardest stone, we become vulnerable to all living things and thus experience the wonder of a truly generous life.
Everyone has their own story to tell. You have your own story, I just hope that living generously is a big part of it.
Co-Author of World Changing Generosity
“World-Changing Generosity: How You Can Join the Movement of Ordinary People Making an Extraordinary Difference for Those in Need” is available at Amazon.com.