WebDef: Generosity

Generosity /jenəˈräsədē/ – Noun: A habit of giving what is needful for another's well-being, without expectation of reciprocity.

Generosity is a healthy habit that, when practiced regularly, brings greater joy, peace and wellness. Generosity isn't the same as giving, which is why our definition is specific: whatever is needful. Sometimes, what is needful can be painful to give, such as when the best thing is to stop enabling someone's addictive behaviors. Generosity always considers the true needs of the recipient. With that definition in mind, conflict-avoidance can be perceived as selfish when it leaves the other party feeling like a shrew. Most commonly, generosity is recognized as abundant giving, beyond what might be expected or considered fair or just, but generosity is also found in words, thoughts, and prayers.

Select Bible Verses on Generosity

  • If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. – Deut. 15:7-8
  • He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. – Proverbs 19:17
  • He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. – Proverbs 22:9
  • Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. – Luke 6:38
  • I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. – Acts 20:35
  • Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:1-4.

Generosity and Health

Medical science is catching up to biblical wisdom: generosity is healthful. You don't need to spend money, to cultivate a practice of generosity. Here are a few ways you can do so:

  • Regularly pray for others. To cultivate a habit of the Metta practice, it is sometimes helpful to associate it with some other daily activity, such as a morning shower.
  • When down, send words of encouragement to three others. When really down, send out even more encouragement. Nothing helps calm a sea-sick heart more than saying "fear not" to someone else.
  • Find out ways to give of your time, treasure or talent. We all make a ripple in our lives, like stones thrown into a vast ocean. So, why not make the most of your ripples.. Some good ideas can be found at www.elffound.org/ripple.
  • Whoever is in your sphere, today, is there a way you can be more loving or kind to them? Sometimes a smile or a kind word can really go far. Remember the words of Mother Teresa, who advised "small things with great love."

What are WebDefs?

WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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