5 Ways A Life Is Defined by Generosity

What exactly does generosity mean? A readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected is one definition I like.


Some people live such a life of generosity that other people notice it. Even if a person is anonymous with their generosity, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing kind of generosity, people can still tell that that person is generous.

But what kind of  lifestyle defines a generous person?

A generous person holds their possessions loosely.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t value what they own. That’s the point. They own their possessions. Their possessions don’t own them.

A generous person notices those around them who need help.

A generous person isn’t consumed with their own life to the extent that they walk right past someone in need without even seeing them. And not only do they notice, they respond.

A generous persons gives to others who can’t, or not easily, repay.

This includes more than a poor person. It is a child who needs a family. It is a widow who needs a relationship. A generous person never has an ulterior motive of getting something in return.

A generous person engages people who are different than themselves.

We all tend to gravitate to those who are like us. A generous person moves out his or her comfort zone and gets to know others who are of a different race, culture, or worldview. They take time to listen, understand, or learn the other person’s language. They might even move to where that person lives just so they can engage them more deeply.

A generous person builds margin into their lives.

Many want to live a generous life. At least they say they want to. But how they use their time and money reveals their true heart. A generous person intentionally assures that they have time and money available to invest in other people.

Do any of these characteristics define your life? If they do, I bet it didn’t happen by accident. Seldom does a person accidentally become a generous person. If a person leads a generous life most likely they made it a priority.

If anyone wants to live a missional or sent life, it will take living a generous life. They go hand in hand. Maybe you just had an epiphany. You have wanted to live a missional life, but it just never seems to happen. You have wanted to be more generous, but again, it just doesn’t happen. Something always seems to get in the way or you never have enough time or money to help someone else.

Here is a truth—Someone, somewhere needs you.

The question is will you make it a priority to live life in such a way that you own your possessions rather than them owning you, notice those in need, not expect anything in return, engage in people different than you, and build margin in your life?

When you do I am sure you will live a generous life.

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

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