Growing in generosity has become a personal pursuit of mine. I have found that when gratitude and appreciation are present, I am able to give more freely and become more generous. I learned a great lesson in generosity from a little boy on a mountainside.
Walking on the lush, tropical mountainside of El Chile, Honduras along a rocky path, my cousin Maritza and I were surrounded by the flowering coffee trees, a dirty pig pen, and chickens wandering freely. We stopped as she pointed to a small, tattered clay house where my mother and her eleven siblings were raised. It was a primitive structure with dirt floors and an open fire burning.
As I turned around to take in the humbling full panorama, a small boy with outstretched hands approached us seemingly out of nowhere.
A small gift & a lesson in generosity
The brown eyed boy, whose name was Chungo, was dressed in a faded t-shirt and blue jeans. He had followed us from a distance when he suddenly made his move and timidly said, “hola”. In one of his hands was a small, tan chicken egg.
He extended his hand and sweetly gazed at me as he offered his gift. I knew the egg could not travel with me and I wrestled with the thought of what the cost to him may be.
As I tried to decide how to handle the situation, it became clear that my acceptance of his gift would bring Chungo the most delight. He asked me to remember him as he turned over the chicken egg. For Chungo, the egg was not just an egg, but a sacrifice.
As he requested, I remember that day I met Chungo and his willingness to surrender a valuable item as an offering of friendship.
I have always wondered how someone so young, who owned so little could be so giving…generous. He demonstrated the Biblical principle that we experience more joy by giving than receiving.
The roots of generosity
I would like to acquire a predisposition toward generosity, an attitude and practice of freely giving to others regardless of my circumstances. This type of mindset and freedom flows from a spirit of gratitude and appreciation.
Knowing I am loved and complete in Christ gives me the ability to be more appreciative and thankful. This “attitude of gratitude” serves as a sort of root system providing me with the capacity to grow in generosity.
The action of giving with God-inspired motives is more blessed than receiving because the act of generosity brings peace, joy and true happiness.
The poor widow and her generous heart
My Honduran friend reminds me of the poor widow Jesus spoke of in the book of Mark:
“While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Mark 12:41-44
Chungo and the woman at the temple challenge me to be intentionally generous. It is not enough to give from my surplus. That is easy. What is difficult is to give from a place of deficit. It shows what I am devoted to and the condition of my heart.
Our most valuable resources
Do I sacrifice my TIME in order to invest and serve others? The Bible says that our life is like a mist or fog. It goes by quickly and once we spend it, there is no recovery.
This one can be hard for me if I am not careful. It is easy to get swept up in “busy-ness” instead of reflecting on what God is directing me to do. It’s always a good time to share but I have to intentionally look for opportunities.
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” James 14-15
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
Do I freely give MONEY away and sacrifice what I want to buy in order to financially bless others? This one is also difficult, because being controlled by money and all that it offers is intoxicating.
The Bible says the love of money can be destructive to our soul. Chungo exhibited a belief that God owns it all and He will ultimately meet our needs.
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Do I sacrifice my own need to be loved to demonstrate LOVE to others? There is something empowering when we know that we are loved by our Heavenly Father.
When operating from that place of God’s security, it is much easier to pour out love on others. We are God’s beloved and nothing can separate us from Him.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
From chance encounter to life challenge to become generous
My chance encounter with Chungo has always challenged me to evaluate my propensity to be generous.
When I have been too busy, it was harder for me to sacrifice my time. When I have been financially strapped, it was harder for me to sacrifice my money. When I am struggling in a relationship, it is harder for me to unconditionally love others.
Reliance on God gives me the ability to pull from His limitless reservoir so I can be like Chungo and become more generous and experience the blessing of giving instead of focusing on my need for receiving.
A postscript to my serendipitous encounter with Chungo is I recently discovered his real name is Jesus…how perfect!
For further reading on God’s faithfulness Already Rescued
Mary Rooney Armand loves to write about inspiring faith based stories. She focuses on helping others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. In 2020 she developed ButterflyLiving and a Bible Study titled “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com.