Are you a generous person? In my work with people, I am often asked questions by people who want to gauge their own generosity. These are usually indirect queries like, “what are other people giving?” or “what percentage of income is the average amount?” rather than “Am I a stingy or profligate person?” This is a natural inclination to fulfill what is expected; to not give too little nor too much compared to other people. The challenge with that, as demonstrated in the New Testament story known as The Widow’s Mite (Mark 12:41-44), is that our generosity can only be gauged by ourselves; by our own specific circumstances and resources. What might be generous for me would be an unnoticeable amount for someone else, or it might be an amount that is impossible for them to match. For this reason, a self-assessment, where one can be completely honest with oneself about the life factors that determine one’s ability to be generous, may be the most useful.
One’s generosity is not just determined by a spreadsheet of financial assets, liabilities, and responsibilities. It is strongly influenced by our faith and values, our understanding and maturity, by our emotions (inspiration for example) and relationships. These factors in growing generosity are most influenced by our experience and capacity in receiving from other people.
If we can be self-aware and gracious receivers, then we are more inclined to be generous givers.” — Mark V. Ewert
How comfortable are you with receiving assistance, gifts, or money if you need it? I have found that if we can be self-aware and gracious receivers, then we are more inclined to be generous givers. It just makes sense – if the giving is more about us than the recipient, then the gift may not be what they need or may be in an amount that is out of proportion. It may seem generous to you, yet does not feel like it to them. We learn about what makes a “good gift” by receiving them. And often, being on the receiving end of a gift helps us understand how to be a good at giving them.
So here is a The Generosity Path: A Generosity Self-Assessment. It is meant to help you gauge your own generosity and how comfortable you are with being a receiver. The purpose is self-reflection and discernment, not accounting. Once you have your aligned your faith, beliefs, and loves aligned with your resources, you will know for yourself that you are generous.
Mark V. Ewert | June 17, 2021