Read: Job 1:1-3:26, 1 Corinthians 14:1-17, Psalm 37:12-29, Proverbs 21:25-26

Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! (Proverbs 21:26)

Relate: I did an internship in the Bronx a good 20 years ago or so. There was a White Castle nearby and it was my first experience with that sliver of grease they claim to be a burger. Love at first bite. I made a point of going by at a certain time each day to grab three of the ridiculously cheap price of a buck fifty or whatever they were going for.

There was this homeless guy who had set up shop about a block away and after a couple days of going by without doing anything, I started giving him that third burger. I did this for a couple days before deciding to go a little further. The next day I bought three for me and three for him for what was becoming a daily ritual. Within a week his friend somehow “happened” to be there one day so I gave him my share and went without. (My cholesterol thanked me profusely for this short reprieve)

Soon I was scheduling a little extra time so that the three of us could do lunch together and share a bit of our story along with some food. More than once the three of us had another guest or two and I would walk back to buy a little more. This was probably the best part of many of my days there and I wish I knew what became of those gentlemen.

React: I’d almost forgotten about those lunches until a recent visit back to the city on a recent day off. I stopped and listened to a guy playing some sweet jazz on Fifth Ave near Rockefeller Center. In the ten minutes or so I was there I must have easily seen a hundred people walk by. At least half made a point of not noticing the musician and his open case with a few bucks in it. If they slowed down to notice and enjoy the music, if they even looked in his direction, they might be expected to give and that simply was not an option.

I shouldn’t be too harsh. Some were probably in a hurry to get back to their monotonous jobs in some cubicle a few dozen stories up in some nearby building. Others were probably tourists who were given strict instructions by “knowledgeable” friends to not give to the beggars. Whatever the reason the desire to hold on to a couple extra bucks denied them the ability to truly hear the sweetness of the music.

And that’s the way it goes. Yes, generosity might cost a bit of money, but what we get back in a sense of well being, in experience, in relationships, and in gratitude from the beneficiary far outweighs the cost. I am firmly convinced that generosity is a far cheaper and more effective cure for depression than the pharmaceutical poisons passing themselves off as antidepressants these days. Give it a try. Next time you’re feeling down do an intentional act of generosity for someone else. Watch and see how right I am.


Dear God,
I know that no matter how hard I try, I can never out give you. It is something I hear so often at offering times in church it almost seems cliche’, but it is still true. Help me to seek out times and ways that I can be generous. Help me to be more concerned that my hands remain open than that my schedule and my wallet remain full. You are a giving God. I want to be like You.

32 thoughts on “Generosity

  1. What a great story! I am sure those guys never forgot you and your kindness towards them. Sometimes, I think the Lord gives us these types of encounters to teach us deeper things about the human condition. We should stay sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit…you might be the person who God has been preparing to show His love through! Thanks for sharing your burgers and wisdom! Blessing! 🙂

  2. Moving. Motivating. Convicting. Intentions can only get me so far… Once a month, or once every 6 months, is so far from good-enough (the term should not even be in the same sentence) in the generosity-to-a-total-stranger arena. I have the heart for it. Time to follow through with action. Thanks for the reminder. We humans need it so often, silly things.

  3. I make bags of food and hygiene supplies to give out and carry them in my car. I do not give money though. I don’t like to support the habits that often lead to the circumstances they are in. I think that many people don’t give for that very reason. They know their money will go for drugs or alcohol. That bothered me too for a very long time, yet I couldn’t deny the feeling that I needed to do something to help somehow. Hence, the to-go bags. I’m quite happy with my compromise. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Amazing and touching story. I used to buy people food or give them a couple of dollars or change as a gift. The last time I did that was approximately a year ago. And that’s because a friend of mine who is a social worker told not to be doing that. We were driving out of a grocery store parking lot one day last summer and there was a man and a woman with three kids holding up a sign near the exit, and I pulled over and was going to give them some money but my friend, the social worker, was like “what are you doing?!” Anyhow, to make the story short she made me aware that those people could be human or child traffickers. It saddens me that now a days it’s kind of difficult what to believe. My heart truly goes out to the homeless and the needy. You reminded me that I should volunteer my spare time somewhere, like a homeless shelter, or donate.

  5. Thanks for sharing !! Most of us fail to realize that when we freely give…even to a total stranger…it’s just like we were giving to the Lord Himself…Matthew 25:35-40…
    Blessings in Christ, bruce

  6. Reblogged this on God's group and commented:
    Great story of compassion for the needy !! Most of us fail to realize that when we freely give…even to a total stranger…it’s just like we were giving to the Lord Himself…Matthew 25:35-40…
    Blessings in Christ, bruce

  7. I was stopped at a red light the other day and saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk, change cup in hand. In her other hand was a peach that I assumed a passerby had given her. She took one or two bits and threw it on the street in disdain. It saddened me to see her feel that way, and I had a flash of indignant anger – how dare you throw away something someone gave you to eat! You have nothing and you throw this like it was nothing!? But I knew that it wasn’t the point. It was the act of giving that was the point. What she, or anyone, we share with does with our offerings, is none of our business. For me, it’s the intention and the act behind it.

    This is a wonderful and moving post – thank you for the reminder that we are all under one umbrella. As one panhandler’s sign reads (near where I work) – “There is no difference between you and me in God’s eyes. There is only a difference in only your eyes”.


  8. Pingback: Generosity (8/21/13) | ChristLove Campaign

  9. I like how you not only gave but spent time getting to know them. Having volunteered at homeless shelters and learning about street beggars, I have made it a policy not to give money to those who stand with signs, although I will give money to street performers. My daughter, who is preparing for a trip abroad, read that giving money to street beggars perpetuates rather than solves the problem. Begging instead of actually seeking to work becomes their profession. But if we get to know people, then we can truly know their needs and how best to help them. God bless you according to your love and faithfulness!

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