What is the Impact of Generosity?

Why be generous?

This past Saturday my wife and I were out celebrating our anniversary.  We went out, laughed, talked, walked had a nice dinner and decided to do dessert at the Cheesecake Factory.  Well you can anticipate what happened.  On a nice summer night, everyone else had the same idea and our wait was going to be at least  50 minutes.

Dutifully, we took the mandatory pager and waited patiently for the buzz.  Meanwhile, we saw the crowds of people continue to stream in and take their mandatory pagers.  Many seemed like us—couples out on a date.

Not that we are impatient by any means…but it dawned on my wife and I that we could erase our 50 minute wait by ordering cheesecake to go.  So in a few minutes we had our cheesecake in hand.  But still, we had this mandatory pager thing.

It occurred to me that we ought to turn the pager in but a better idea struck me.   Why not pass our pager on to one of those couples who fell well below us in the pecking order.  So we picked out of the crowd another couple who we knew came in well after us.  They were sitting patiently with their mandatory pager in hand on a similar 50 minute wait.  They looked resigned, until we approached them.

It was really simple.  I told them my name, handed them my mandatory pager thing, told them we were getting our cheesecake to go and that they’d been elevated to our position in line.  He smiled.  She said, “Wow!”  and off we went—cheesecake in hand and mandatory pager thing gone.

A simple act but later I reflected upon it.  It’s fun to be generous—to give away, to make others feel better, to give them what they don’t deserve.  Funny how that makes me feel better too.

William High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Foundation (www.servantchristian.com).  Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity.  He may be reached at whigh@servantchristian.com.

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One Response to “What is the Impact of Generosity?”

  1. Eric Foley Says:

    Great story, William. Well done.

    I wonder, though, if there isn’t more impact to generosity even than what you’ve touched on here. It is not only fun to be generous, it is fulfilling and I think it is so for a particular reason: by being generous, we become increasingly like Christ.

    I think it is important to put that at the center of any other benefits we experience if, for no other reason, generosity may not always be fun. That’s not to say it won’t always be worth it; I think we’d agree that becoming like Christ is the believer’s highest aspiration, but it may not always feel good to deny ourselves things we might otherwise enjoy and give our resources away so that God’s kingdom may be built.

    What do you think about that? Do you think a focus from faith-based nonprofits to place generosity in the context of Christlike-ness might change how donors think about giving?


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