By Mike Stickler
2 Corinthians 9:6
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Not long ago I had the privilege of giving the eulogy at my father’s promotion to heaven. If you can picture a small family church where so many memories had been formed, laughter shared, and tears shed, now full of close family and dear friends gathered to give honor to a man who lived an unremarkable life but made a difference in all those lives he touched. I shared our history and family benchmarks and funny stories. But the most poignant one was when I spoke of my father’s generosity.
Early in the 1960’s, my aunt was abandoned by her then-husband and they subsequently divorced. In those days, divorce was not as common as it is now—and it came with some social shame for her and for her family.
As with all single mothers, she soon became father, mother, and provider to her four small children. My dad did all he could at the time to be supportive to my aunt throughout the year; but, what is most memorable of all, were the Christmases.
Dad would bring their whole family to our home (which had three children there already) and try to make Christmas day the most special day of the year for them all.
A small boy at the time, I recall walking into the living room of our home Christmas morning to see such a bountiful sea of gifts – it’s hard to describe the awe. Toys, dolls, clothes, bikes, skateboards, everything… You could hardly make a path to the Christmas tree with the plenty that lay beneath.
It was the same for Christmas dinner—in our formal dining room, best china and silver, crystal glassware, and a huge turkey or ham plus every side dish you could imagine. Every one of us sat at the table‒the “big people’s” table‒as we were all important to him.
And after dinner, I remember sitting under our piano as my Dad played and we sang Christmas carols together. It may sound like we lived an opulent life-style, but we didn’t. It was really just my Dad’s desire to make that one day an exceptional one for all of us. S
At his memorial I shared this. My cousins, now in their 50s and 60s, the very children to whom he was so generous, broke down and sobbed at this beautiful memory they’d felt such deep honor to experience. These were the “lose your breath” kind of tears expressed. Why? Because my Dad sowed generously. This act of generosity made a difference in lives.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
How can you be overwhelmingly generous, even in the smallest way, to someone who can’t do for him or herself? Write down the first person that comes to mind and then formulate an action plan. Write that plan down below. Then, get to work!
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.