Generosity is not passive. It’s alive and dynamic, proactive, always looking for ways to express itself. When I ask people to tell me about the most generous person they know, this is the type of thing they say, “She is always looking for opportunities to be generous.”
The most generous people I know are not just thoughtful and generous with their money and things. They are generous in every way imaginable. This all-around generosity makes them much loved by everyone who knows them and a beacon of God’s love in their community. Their generosity is proactive. They don’t wait to be asked.
Here’s an example of creative, proactive generosity. Life-changing generosity.
Anastasia Petrov is a Russian immigrant and a nurse. “I love America,” she says to me with her sixty-two-year-old smile. A few years ago, one of the nurses she works with at the hospital got cancer and had to take some time off work. Anastasia didn’t know her very well, but she knew that the other nurse had three kids and that she needed to work. Anastasia knew this woman would be out of sick days very quickly and one day at lunch Anastasia heard some of the other nurses talking about doing one of those online funding projects to help out.
“We can do better than that!” Anastasia said to her colleagues. They all turned and stared at her; you see, Anastasia was a quiet woman. She was a listener. Plenty of lunch breaks would pass without her saying a single word. “What do you mean?” one of her colleagues asked her. “Everyone loves Jane [the sick nurse]. She is always doing kind things for people. We all have three twelve-hour shifts a week; all we need to do is find three nurses to volunteer an extra shift each week and Jane can keep getting paid until she is well and can come back to work.”
The other nurses stared at her with astonishment and admiration. “I’ll organize the schedule,” Anastasia added. And so she did. Each week while Jane was out of work, Anastasia found three nurses to do an extra shift so that Jane could continue to be paid her full salary.
I learned about this from Sophia, another nurse at the hospital. “How long was Jane off work?” I asked. “Three years!” Sophia replied with a smile. “Anastasia is amazing,” she continued.
This was life-changing generosity. It was creative and proactive.
Now, here is today’s generosity habit.
Make someone’s day! Go out of your way to do something to make someone’s day today. You don’t need me to tell you what to do. The creative genius of generosity is alive and well within you. Seek its counsel and follow where the spirit of generosity leads you. It doesn’t have to be something spectacular. Small and simple acts of generosity can make people’s day.