|Mike Hosey, An Elder|
Generous people tend to be positive people. In fact, I can’t think of a single generous person in my circles who is also a negative person. This seems to be true regardless of whatever their primary mode of generosity is. Some people are generous with their time. They’re positive people. Some people are generous with their creativity. They’re positive people. Some people are generous with their money. They’re positive people. But before you go protesting to me about my truth claim here, I will acknowledge that there must be people who are negative in their outlook and yet still engage in apparently generous behaviors. Perhaps. I just can’t think of any.
But the truth is that generous behavior is inherently positive behavior. Truly positive behaviors don’t come from negative mindsets, or negative spiritual states.
Consider how 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. It doesn’t say that he loves a giver who begrudgingly yields his things of value. This is because the person who gives grudgingly does so out of pressure, or duress, or guilt. Think about how you would enjoy your spouse’s intimacy if it was given to you out of pressure, rather than out of a true desire for closeness. Or think about how enjoyable an event might be if your friend went with you to that event because someone shamed him or her into going.
Interestingly, I have found that some of the most positive people are those who have given their monies cheerfully. These people are a triple portion of generosity. The reason is that in most cases they have already given of their time to get the money they are giving away. They have also already given of their creativity or talents in order to receive the money they are giving away. When they give of their money they are also giving time and talent they’ve already spent. How can such a person be cheerful? Believe it or not, the reason has more to do with faith than it does anything else. Faith is strongly linked to positive spiritual states and mindsets. A person who believes that God is in control and that everything will turn out o.k. no matter how bad it looks at any given moment is going to be demonstrably more positive than the person who believes that everything is going to go to hell in a handbasket and that all is lost. People who are cheerful givers believe that they are stewards managing a master’s resources, and that God is their never ending supply who takes care of all their needs, and will replenish what has been given away. So if you want to stay positive, exercise your faith, decide in your heart what it is that God wants you to give, then give it, knowing through faith that he will do more than just take care of you (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).