What does it take to have a life of total generosity?
Work. Lots and lots of work. Hard work. Endless work. A relentless pursuit to be and do all that God would have for you.
It’s a journey that will take the rest of your life.
But I’m also just as firmly convinced that it matters. In fact, I’m convinced that it’s the most meaningful pursuit that you can put your life energy in to.
If at the end of your life you could honestly and authentically say, “On the eve of my death, as I reflect back on my years I realize now that I spent every waking minute pursuing the calling God put on my life, nurturing my mind, body and soul to accomplish that mission, called others to follow along, and gave generously to those I love and met randomly,” would anything else really matter?
It is that sold-out nature, that relentless pursuit and passion that God has given you that brings about a life of total generosity.
A life of total generosity
When working with clients who are stuck, I’ve found that it can often be helpful to take a view of the current situation with the end in mind.
In some circumstances, that may be only 10 or 20 years down the road. If retirement is the goal, look at your current project of how it helps you serve people well and reach your ultimate goal.
In the case of holistic generosity, it is an end-of-life issue.
Picture people standing around at your funeral waiting for it to start. There will undoubtedly be both tears of sorrow and of joy. Weeps, wails, laughters and giggles from a variety of people.
Individuals with whom you had an interaction, big or small, once or a countless number of times. And on each and every one of them, you left fingerprints.
As they stand to share memories or read a eulogy, what do you want them to say? What is the most vital or important thing you want to be remembered for?
A life of fingerprints
What I realized for myself is that I want to leave a life of fingerprints.
I want my funeral to be a physical representation of the advancement of God’s kingdom here on earth.
I promised myself (and God) a long time ago that I would spend and invest time into whatever would advance his kingdom most. What I want at the end of my life is for people to celebrate that. What I want to hear from God is, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That’s how my life and story unfolds toward total generosity.
If you could write your own eulogy and see the investment that you made, what would you write? What would you want to see?
As we can begin to answer those questions about our own lives, we see the picture of what total generosity looks like.
Questions to ask yourself
It starts with calling. Who and what has God called me to be and do?
It requires inner health. How am I nurturing and watering my soul? What am I doing to process and develop my emotions? How am I taking care of my body? What am I reading that is stimulating and growing my mind?
It demands healthy relationships. Who are my closest loved ones and friends? How am I guiding, influencing, and leading them? What areas of my interpersonal life need attention and love? Who needs a word of encouragement or praise today?
It opens our wallet. What causes, groups or organizations am I most passionate about? How can I bless them? Who could use a generous gift in my life?
It ends in passionate pursuit. How do I keep growing on this path? What else does God have for me? How is what I’m doing today advance my life purpose and desire to leave a legacy of influence and impact? Am I being most effective right now? What needs to change?
My prayer for you is that this journey you’re on will be immensely blessed. As we conclude another calendar year and embark on a new one, remember to take your own growth seriously.
Don’t set resolutions. Make goals.
A goal is a resolution with a date on it. Take your own growth seriously and intentionally plan your steps, fulfilling all that God has for you.
Justin Hiebert is a Mennonite Brethren pastor in the Denver metro area. He studied Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership at Tabor College and completed his M.Div. at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. He blogs at empoweringmissional.com, where this post originally appeared.