Generosity – More than Sending Money


Generous giving at food bank

Copyright © Steve Debenport/iStockphoto

by Patty Berube

I recently saw a very good commercial from a Thai insurance company entitled “Unsung Hero.” It features a man who, every day, helps a cart vendor move her cart over a curb, hangs a bunch of bananas on an elderly lady’s doorknob, moves a dried out plant under a stream of water and gives what little money he has in his wallet to a mother and daughter begging on the street. Every day he does this – and his reward is a smile and laughter from the cart vendor, a hug from the lady, a healthy plant, and a little girl walking toward him, wearing a school uniform, no longer begging. It is a feel-good video that got me thinking about generosity.

I imagine a lot of people think of generosity in terms of giving money. We all get inundated with mail and email asking us for money. We watch telethons where millions of dollars are raised to help sick children, build hospitals, or support public television stations – or any number of really good causes. And I admire the people who spend their time and energy doing the asking, those who do programs to raise the money for these causes, or those people who give their money. All of these are acts of generosity. But I wish people didn’t have to be reminded to be generous, didn’t have to watch a telethon and get hyped to be generous, or respond to an email to want to give. And why do the food banks get lots of food around Christmas, but have to struggle the rest of the year?

I wish more people gave of themselves, rather than just money, so they can feel good like the man in the video. How do people learn to be generous? The scouts teach children to help people. I never was a scout, so don’t know, but I expect there is a badge for generosity.

My husband was in the hospital last October. A mother and her little daughter came through the wards on the night before Halloween, dressed in costumes, giving out little chocolate treats. I was so moved by the smile on the little girl’s face. Her Mother was teaching her how to be generous in a simple, relatively inexpensive way. She was teaching her that generosity’s reward is how it makes you feel.

To me, generosity is more than giving money. Generosity is sharing time and love, sharing a meal, helping someone complete a task, and sharing laughter. I have a friend who once a month spends her Sunday at a gospel mission preparing and serving food for people who mostly live on the streets. Another friend volunteers at the local food bank on a regular basis. I want to be that generous. I want to do more than send money to good causes, or give “things” to the thrift store. I do that, but I want more – to be an example to my grandchildren on how to be generous in a way that gives of self. Generosity is taught by sharing and doing.

Patty grew up in Edmonton, Alberta but has lived in the Okanagan since 1989. For the last 23 years, Patty has been an employee of Wood Lake Publishing Inc., President since January of 2014. Being a Grandmother and Great-Grandmother are Patty’s greatest prides. Her passions include reading, baking, gardening, and loving her rescue pets. 

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Categories: Daily Life, Ethics, Featured, Patty Berube, People, Spiritual Growth, Values

Author:Wood Lake Publishing

At Wood Lake Publishing we are passionate about supporting and encouraging an emerging form of Christianity, which is rooted in ancient wisdom and attentive to the movement of spirit in our day. Visit us online at woodlakebooks.com

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3 Comments on “Generosity – More than Sending Money”

  1. Ruth Hill
    July 18, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    A lot of people were taught or believe in tithing. Tithing means one tenth, and since I had no money, I asked myself if there were any other way to apply the “one-tenth” principle to my life. I came up with the idea of time,one tenth of my time for other people. So I challenged myself to either give one-tenth of my wages, or one-tenth of my TIME, to any cause other than self. It has been a challenge I cannot meet. Think about it: it means two and a half hours a day! Can any good Girl Scout find that much time with today’s societal demands? I have had a really hard time coming close to this goal. But, as a goal, it is what spurns me on. Half hour at the hospital I might not otherwise have spent. Half hour conversing with someone grieving and lonely. An hour at a vending table so someone can go to lunch with her three young children. Two hours on Saturday moving someone’s furniture. I have done many things to try to meet my goal. Mostly, though, I just think it is a wonderful goal, leading to more happiness in the world for me and others.

  2. July 18, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    Ruth, what a wonderful goal, to give 1/10th of your time. That’s a LOT of time. I don’t think I could do it. But I admire that you are really trying to meet your goal. What you are doing is exactly what I think of when I think of generosity.

  3. Kimberly Robinson
    July 19, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    My son is now sixteen and I have spent a great deal of time to teach by example what generosity of spirit is. He is growing into a fine young may because he was shown through myself and through the people that share in his life that generosity is not just a dollar amount. It is time well spent pulling weeds in a garden, doing things for his Grandpa that Grandpa can no longer do, by talking with elders and giving smiles and hugs. It is making generosity just part of who you are. For all the teachings he and I have received on generosity I say thanks with a smile in my heart, not just on my face. Megwetch for the article and for the young man in the video clip that shares his generosity.

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