Tag Archives: generosity

Seeing with Generous Eyes

I love how nature surprises us with beauty. Actually, the beauty is there all along, the surprise happens when we pause long enough to recognize it. Like today, while sitting at the park with my family, I looked up and discovered a tree crowned in white blossoms and fresh green leaves. Spectacular!

This reminds me of Jesus’ words,

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are generous*, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are stingy*, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:34)

Between blossoms and leaves.

Between blossoms and leaves.

I was at a retreat recently where we discussed this passage. Josh Pinkston, who co-led the retreat, helped us to understand that the condition of our eyes has less to do with who/what we are looking at than it does with how we are seeing them. When we look at someone, what do we see, that which divides us or brings us together? This is true with family and friends, people that cross our path, and even God.

When I arrived at the retreat, I realized that the prayer I was carrying on my heart was the refrain of a popular song that goes like this, “Say something. I’m giving up on you.” I won’t go into all the details as to why this was my prayer, but if prayer is talking to God, this is what I was communicating. (e.g.: Psalm 22:1-2)

It was after talking about Jesus words about the generous and stingy eyes, that I realized God had been talking to me all day long through the voices of those around me. If I was not able to see God in them, then the light of my eyes would have truly been darkness, because I would have stayed in the darkness of my initial prayer.

God’s movement is always toward light and life, even if it means walking with us through the darkness. Just as I was surprised today at the beautiful sight of a tree transitioning from blossom to leaf, I was even more surprised at the astounding beauty of God’s love through the people God had placed around me. All it took was a generous eye.

Grace and peace,

* The Greek for healthy here implies generous. The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy. (Luke 11:34 NIV Notes)

Love as Generosity

Quite often when I write these devotional articles, I am dealing directly with something that I am wrestling with. This week is no exception. In fact, it might be one of my biggest challenges ever, being generous.

A young hand touches and holds an old wrinkled handLast week I wrote about love in action through responsibility. Being responsible is more than just making sure we did our part, that we took care of what was entrusted to us. Being responsible also entails the ability to respond well. To respond well we must be willing to make ourselves present to others. Being present is an act of generosity. Generosity is an act of love.

New Oxford American Dictionary
(of a person) showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected

As I was thinking of the realms of generosity, I realized that there are at least three: resources, time, and consideration. Generosity is most often attributed to resources, especially money. Secondarily, we think of generosity in terms of time. Lastly, generosity through consideration is probably the most difficult to recognize and realize. When we consider someone we give careful thought concerning them. It is an internal act of generosity. We must make space within ourselves so that we can make a person to person connection on the outside.

Jesus seemed to do this quite well. The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 comes to mind. First off, Jesus was not put out by her presence. Secondly, he was willing to engage her in conversation, even following her lead. By the end she felt that she made a connection with him. “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” (John 4:39) Jesus’ generosity toward an outcast woman ended up changing her life, not to mention an entire town.

As we think about love, I pray we will also be able to realize the impact of a little generosity, especially when it comes to being present to those around us. As I mentioned above, I am taking this to heart as well.

Grace and peace,