From Andy Stanley’s Crazy Like Us
We all think we are this, but in actuality most Americans are not this and do not know how to do this! Now at MCA, I know we are above average! But here is the thing, this is not something natural but has to be taught. So you might be asking, what is this? Well, this is HOW TO BE GENEROUS. No, not how to give, but how to be generous, to live generously, to be… not to do.
Now I know what you are thinking. Whenever someone says that we are not something, we immediately remember that one time we did it and define ourselves with that single event. An example, especially for the guys, would be in marriage. This happens at times, and perhaps too many times in my own, where your wife says something like, “You don’t help enough around the house.” Our immediate response to this, guys, is “No, remember that one time back before the kids where born when I washed the dishes?” And then we define our whole being with that one single act. When it comes to generosity, we are not talking about a single random act of giving.
You see, random acts of giving come from people inspiring us, motivating us, selling us, or guilting us into giving. Generosity is not a single act of giving. Generosity transcends inspirational and guilt giving. Generous people move beyond that. When we learn how to be generous and order our life around generosity, we will give more, save more, and consume less.
Now there are some of us who will not save more. In fact, you may already be saving more than all the neighbors on your street combined, including everyone in a four-block radius. You will not save more; you will give more. Maybe you do this because you are nervous about money, but it isn’t because you don’t have enough, you just never learned how to be generous. Others may think you are based on zeros on the end of your check, but you’re not generous. Generosity effects every part of your life, finances included. It’s a keystone habit that affects everything, but it is something that we need to be taught.
Generosity is not natural. The best example of this is found raising our own children. We have to teach them how to share when they are young. It’s not natural for them to do it. They will want to fight for their stuff and take other children’s toys when they want it. We have to teach them to give up what is maybe theirs; we have to teach them to take turns. It’s funny that even as adults we can still feel resistance when we give our own stuff away.
So if generosity isn’t natural, what is it? It’s crazy! Most Americans spend more than they make, pay interest on things that decrease in value as soon as they possess it. We never really feel rich, but we are, and we may feel generous but we aren’t. That is crazy. Imagine sharing your financial pressures with someone from a third-world country. They would think you’re CRAZY! Just to give an example of this, if you make $40,000, you are considered part of the top 1-2% of the richest people in the world. This is mind-blowing, isn’t it?
Now with that being said, since we know that generosity isn’t natural and needs to be taught, let’s look at four myths of generosity.
Myth 1 – Generosity is spontaneous. Nope, it isn’t simply giving to the random kid in the neighborhood who is raising money for XYZ. It’s not walking by a musician downtown and throwing some change in the guitar case. Generous people are not spontaneous, but far more strategic in their giving.
Myth 2 – Generosity depends on cash flow. If you think you can be generous today but not tomorrow, that’s not how it works. Generosity isn’t determined by whether or not you can afford it. Generous people are consistent in giving.
Myth 3 – It’s the amount that counts. This is pure crazy. Many times people look at the amount to determine if someone is generous or not. No one knows if the amount of zeros on the check makes a person generous. It may be more money than I have, than I could give, but one way to fool ourselves is by looking at the amount. The amount does NOT count. Everyone can be generous, and everyone can make a generous donation.
Myth 4 – Rich people are generous. “When I become rich, then I will become generous.” This simply isn’t the case. So think about this, if you are not generous now, when you get rich, you will simply be a rich person who is not generous. Rich people are rich and generous people are generous. There isn’t a correlation; they are two different things.
Now after reading those myths and what we already discussed, let’s just close our eyes and imagine for a moment. Imagine that all of the financial mistakes you have made over the years, the money lost, is now sitting in a bank account. All of it is right there for you but there is a catch. You can only spend it on others and not yourself. WOW! Can you imagine the rush of giving that away to others and helping those in need! Jesus tells us that it’s better to give than to receive, or you could say “Happy is the person whose life is ordered around giving than receiving.” This bank account certainly would bring you a lot of happiness and it would be because you were not spending it on yourself.
So bottom line is this, you need to choose your crazy. You can either be crazy like everyone else, or you can be crazy generous.