What is generosity? #40acts blog

What is generosity? #40acts blog

Isn’t it fun being generous?  Doesn’t it feel good to give something to someone and see them smile and say “thank you”?   In fact, it makes you want to give even more, doesn’t it?  You pledge to church, and give as you pledged, then wait for the “statement of giving” to come at the end of the quarter so you can feel good that you met your pledge.  Maybe you make a pledge to give when a student from your alma mater calls during the annual campaign; then, a week or two later, the alumni association sends you a notice asking for your gift.  You write a check, or, more realistically, go on-line with your credit card and give the $ 20 or $ 25 for the scholarship fund.  A week or so later, you receive a letter of thanks.  You feel pretty good, don’t you?  We know we do.  Oh, and one other.  You put a special license plate on your car for your college and pay the BMV an additional $ 25 dollars that goes to the scholarship fund; what a wonderful feeling that is.  Well, actually, the wonderful feeling is that everyone can see that you are proud that you went to PURDUE or BALL STATE, or, of all things, IU. We wonder if that is really being generous.  When today’s 40 ACTS talked about the sacrifice involved in generosity, it got me thinking about my actual giving.  I never think of it as a sacrifice; we think of it as something that we just do.  We give to church, college, the BMV and other charities...
Generations of generosity #40acts blog

Generations of generosity #40acts blog

One of the recent #40ACTS got me thinking about my faith, how it developed, and who was responsible (other than God) for nurturing it. First, of course, are my parents. Both my mom and my dad were active in St. Lukes Evangelical Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, IL, near where we lived. My dad served as church financial officer, and I remember being in the church office counting money after worship on most Sundays. My mom was active in the senior citizens’ program, as well as in a couple of circles. They strongly influenced me as role models. Second, would be my Aunt Lill, my mom’s sister. Aunt Lill was a graduate of the Chicago Conservatory of Music and the organist at St. Lukes; she was a wonderfully generous individual. Her husband, Uncle Austin, a carpenter, was also active in the church, often ushering and building/repairing stuff. They were like second parents to me, and I would often spend the day with Aunt Lill; I remember one particular day when I sat in a pew at church while she practiced for Sunday; then she took me to lunch and to the Pickwick Theater to see a Disney movie. Aunt Lill and Uncle Austin were both positive influences on my faith. Third would be my Aunt Nonnie, my dad’s sister. Aunt Nonnie was a faithful member of a Lutheran church on the near north side of Chicago. She didn’t drive, and would walk the three blocks to church on most Sunday mornings; when the weather was bad, her husband, Uncle Ray, an Illinois State Trooper, would drive her. I never...
How do you measure generosity? #40acts blog

How do you measure generosity? #40acts blog

I thought I was being generous when I put my envelope in the collection plate at Old Orchard United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  I was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard, and we had bought a home in Cherry Hill, a 25-minute drive to the base. We began attending Old Orchard Methodist shortly after we moved in.  Since joining the Navy in 1964, Pat and I had been stationed in, and attending churches in  New Port, Rhode Island, Athens, Georgia, San Diego, CA, Bremerton and Seattle Washington, Long Beach and San Diego, California, Sasebo Japan, Libertyville, Illinois, Ann Arbor Michigan, and Newport Rhode Island again before finally buying a home in Cherry Hill.  We had been Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and non-denominationalists.  Since we were at most places for less than three years, we never actually joined or got very active in any of the churches.Old Orchard was different.  When we first visited in Old Orchard was different.  When we first visited in 1979, we immediately felt at home, and the church became our family.  Our kids attended Sunday school, and we attended Bible Study, and we became regular visitors. One Sunday the minister, who we really liked, took me aside after the service and asked me when we were going to join the church.  He said it was about time.  We had never given it much thought since we hadn’t joined any other churches, but after much thought finally made the decision to join. In those days, joining meant pledging, and we did.  I remember thinking that this was a big step for us since...
BOGO generosity #40acts blog

BOGO generosity #40acts blog

Did you know that you can really get something for nothing and then give it away?  What a wonderful idea!  Have you ever checked out the many rebates and freebies available? ACT 2:1 involves getting something for nothing and sharing it.  You know the Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) or “FREE ITEM” promotions that stores often have.  We have a friend in our exercise class who always downloads the weekly coupon for a free item from Kroger.  She then brings it to the church where our class meets and drops it off in the food pantry box. I got involved in the rebate program at Menards.  After a friend told me about how her father always had bags of goodies for the kids at Christmas,  I decided to take advantage of the wonderful deals available at our local Menards store. It works like priming a pump.  First, you buy an item (or several), then send in the rebate forms.  You receive a rebate check good only at Menards, then use the check to buy more rebate qualifying items. Using the Menards rebate plan, I buy items like paint brushes or cleaning cloths or drill bits that have rebates, send in the rebate forms, and then use the rebate $$ to buy more items that have rebates.  Sometimes I get 100% back, other times only 60% – 70%. I haven’t been doing this very long, but I already have a fairly large stock of stuff I plan to give away.  There are tools and paint brushes and gloves and “whatever.” Using another rebate plan, I have taken advantage of office supply store rebates to...
Generosity in the Magic Kingdom #40acts blog

Generosity in the Magic Kingdom #40acts blog

You never know when an opportunity to be generous will present itself. The 3 PM Magic Kingdom parade was about to start, and we found great a great viewing place where we could sit on a wall and have an unobstructed view of Mickey and all his friends.  Sitting next to us was a couple with a cute two or three-year-old little girl.  Her father spoke to her in broken English and what sounded like Italian as the little girl eagerly awaited the parade.  Her mother had walked away a few minutes earlier and came back and said, to the little girl: “sorry, they only take cash.” The little girl was crestfallen.  I asked what she wanted, and she said a Little Mermaid Bubble Machine that was being sold from a cart across the street from where we were sitting. I decided to be generous and got up, walked across to the cart, and bought a Little Mermaid Bubble Machine for the little girl.  I told the family that this was our gift to them.  The little girl was thrilled and came and gave me a big hug.  The father shook my hand and said thanks. The parade began and when the Mermaid float came by, the character noticed the bubble machine in the little girl’s hand and gave her an excited smile! Just a small random act of...