I was looking for some good advice on becoming more generous. Before I could finish typing in my search, Google pulled from its history of trillions of searches to try and help me finish my question.
Let’s be honest, most people would love fame, wealth, and exposure. They’re not necessarily looking to become more big-hearted and generous. But if we’re looking to become the kind of people Jesus calls us to, becoming generous is a must!
Here are 20 things you can do right now to practice Christian generosity:
1. Study what the Bible says about giving
This is a must. If we take the Bible seriously, it must be our go-to authority for deciding how we’re going to view and use our resources.
For a good place to start digging into the topic, check out 20 Bible Verses on Generosity.
2. Be thankful
Part of being firmly rooted in our faith is to be overflowing with thanksgiving. Learning to be thankful for the blessings in our lives makes us more content, satisfied, and less likely be striving for more. This totally frees us up to be more charitable.
3. Start paying attention to the needs around you
When you’re having conversations with others, become a detective of their needs—even if they’re unspoken.
Are your neighbors stressed about their trip because they’re going to need someone to water their plants? Does your pastor’s wife need someone to talk to? Is there a family at your daughter’s school that needs financial help?
Recognizing needs is a skill you develop by learning to pay close attention to people and read between the lines. Once you know their needs, offering to meet them (or rallying others who can) is the logical next step.
The free resource, Start With Generosity, is a great read for people like you who are hoping to learn more about how God approaches generosity. These real-life stories are written by and for people just like you, and it’s amazing to see what God does through their openness. Click here to download it today.
4. Celebrate the victories and special moments of others
A generous person isn’t threatened when others do well. They’re not overcome with jealousy and they don’t fear the success of people around them. They’re happy to celebrate people’s achievements because they truly want the best for them.
5. Learn to accept generosity
It can be difficult to put yourself in a position of vulnerability, but it’s important. Learning to accept generosity from others can help you become more empathetic and better recognize the need for we all have for the kindness of others.
It’s also a helpful way to teach others to become more generous.
6. Give regularly to your church
Learning to give regularly is an important part of becoming unselfish. Think of it as the training wheels of generosity.
We’d like to think that the more we keep, the more we’ll have to give when someone really needs it. But the truth is that we learn generosity through giving.
You can learn more about the biblical practice of tithing by checking out 20 Bible Verses about Tithing.
7. Find charities you can support
Whether you’re passionate about digging wells in the desert, feeding the hungry, or supporting the persecuted church, find organizations that do work you think is important. There are a lot of charity watchdog groups that will make sure these organizations are legitimate.
Pray for these organizations, volunteer for them, or make donations.
8. Prepare for spontaneous generosity
Invest in a couple gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants, or hotels and keep them with you to give to people who may need them.
9. Give something up and divert that cash
Do you eat out on Thursday afternoons? Do you make frequent trips to Starbucks? Take a break for a month and donate the money you would have spent to your church, a local food bank, or a charity.
10. Get rid of everything you haven’t used for a year
Because generous people don’t tend to find personal happiness in acquiring stuff, they often choose to live simply. Their closets aren’t full of clothes they never wear or equipment they never use.
Take some time and go through and donate or dispose of things that are just filling up space.
11. Make giving your first priority
With the best of intentions, we tell ourselves that we’ll give from what we have left when we’ve taken care of everything else. The problem is that there’s seldom anything left.
Decide a percentage you’d like to give, and do it first—right off the top. You’ll find it energizing and lifegiving.
12. Don’t think of generosity as being “nice”
Becoming a giving person isn’t about being cordial and pleasant; it’s about making people a priority. You don’t have to become a pushover or afraid to tell people no.
Many are afraid to become givers because they think they’ll be taken advantage of. It’s not true. It’s important for altruistic people to do the work of finding the right causes and opportunities.
13. Become more forgiving
You cannot separate forgiveness and the gospel—they’re inexplicably united. But forgiveness is a powerful element of generosity.
Sometimes people end up in difficult situations, and it’s entirely their fault. A generous person doesn’t simply say, “You made your bed, now sleep in it.” They’ll often say, “Let’s work on a solution to get you out of this situation.”
This often requires an element of forgiveness.
14. Give praise
People are starving for appreciation. Recognizing and acknowledging what’s praiseworthy in others is truly benevolent behavior. It not only blesses them, it helps you become someone who sees the world with a more generous eye.
15. Spend time with people in need
It’s pretty easy to become isolated from actual needs. If you want to become more generous, you need to get closer to people with real obstacles. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, food pantry, or soup kitchen. Actually getting know people who are struggling can really change your perspective.
16. Set aside time each week to pray for others
Christians often tell each other, “I will pray for you.” I think we’d be surprised at how seldom it actually happens. But bringing petitions to God on behalf of others is one of the most compassionate things we can do.
Set aside a specific time each week to pray for the needs, and asking for wisdom on how to help them. You’ll find you benefit as much as they do.
17. Be patient
If you want to be a person that puts others first, learn to cultivate patience. Patience tells others that they matter. It’s no wonder that you often hear the descriptors “patient” and “generous” spoken together.
18. Spend time with generous people
Go out of your way to find generous people and get to know them. Ask them questions to better understand how they got that way, “Where did you start? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be more generous? How do you decide what and when to give?”
19. Visit seniors
It’s amazing how many seniors live in assisted living facilities and have no one who comes to spend time with them. Volunteer your time to go sit and talk with them. Not only will you find you really enjoy it, you’ll immediately see how much it means to them.
20. Practice generosity in secret
It’s not always possible to give in secret, but do your best to try. Nothing will undermine the spirit of generosity like doing good for the purpose of being noticed by others.
When the church truly becomes generous, the whole world will benefit. It’s one of the most profound ways that we can communicate the truth of the gospel.
See what God has done in the lives of people striving to be generous in the ebook, Start with Generosity. Click here to download your free copy today.