While driving to work the other morning I was listening to the radio, as I usually do. The program host had a guest on the show and they were discussing seasonal tipping etiquette. The focus of the show quickly shifted from being a discussion about seasonal expectations and social norms, to a call-in radio recognition of all of the people we value for making a difference in our lives, but often forget to thank or recognize with generosity.
You can hardly turn on the radio or TV in the time leading up to Christmas without hearing a story of generosity or a plea to give. Christmas is a special time and I like to think it brings out the best in many of us as we anticipate the birth of Christ and the time we spend celebrating with family and friends. We give because we have been taught to give, because we have experienced someone else’s overwhelming generosity, and we give so that others may also experience all of the mystery and joy that we have experienced.
We are a people of generosity called by God to give of our first fruits, to give when it is hard, and to give because we have been blessed so abundantly by the Creator who continues to give.
As I begin to think about resolutions for this New Year as I write this in mid-December, I can’t help but be reminded of the generosity I have experienced in my life. I am new to my position at Mennonite Church Canada, but already I have been overwhelmed by the level of commitment and giving of our congregations and individuals in the sacrifice we make to move forward in ministry together.
As I begin to think about the year ahead and ways to be intentional in living out the joy, mystery and generosity of Christmas throughout the year, I thought I should think creatively and set some goals. Here is what I came up with:
- First, I need to prayerfully open myself up to the idea of generosity, to listen and to share stories of generosity and need, and then to give as I feel called.
- Second, if I am going to take this seriously and follow through in trying to cultivate a life of generosity, I need to take intentional steps so that it doesn’t get away from me. I need to look at my budget and set designated giving goals, or postdate cheques, for example.
These are just a few ideas. I have not even begun to scratch the surface here, but if this topic resonates with you, please share your ideas by phone (204-960-5234) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), so we can all benefit and better live out our calling as a people created for generosity.
Daniel Horne is Mennonite Church Canada’s director of partnership development.