Generosity in giving praise

At work, at school, at church, and sometimes even at home.  Do you ever feel like the only time you hear from people is when you have done something wrong?  Or when others think you should be doing better, more, etc.?

We live in a world where kind words and genuine praise are out of the norm.

I have been on a quest to learn more about generosity this year.  Chris and I have thought a lot about how we can be on the look-out for ways to be generous in our daily lives.  This includes giving money to church and others, but also in how we can generously serve others with our time, talents and other resources.

This morning, it hit me!  We should also be generous with our praise for others.

Last weekend, I went to a Mini-Photography Camp for kids at our church.  It was absolutely wonderful!  The next day (Sunday morning) at church, a man who had attended the event was grabbing people in the church lobby to tell them how awesome the event was!  I immediately texted my friend that led the event to let him know this man was spreading the word at how great it was!  I told Chris about it on the way home, and we both thought it was awesome!  We should be doing more of this!  Recognizing and praising others for good things…and telling other people what we’ve seen our friends do!

Yesterday, someone did something really nice for me.  I sent this person an email saying how much I appreciated what he did and that I thought he was wonderful.  It was a quick, simple, short email.  When I got an email back from him, the first word he wrote was “Wow!”

And this morning, I thought “That’s it!  We should be so generous with our praise for others that they are shocked!  We should make them stop, think and say WOW!”

Hebrews 10:24 says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Praising someone for something good or great that they have done is encouraging!  It makes them want to do more of that!

One of my friends posted this article today where a high school boy posted pictures anonymously of kids from his school for a whole year and said nice things about them.  It talked about how blown away the kids were at the nice things said about them.  It’s a good read!

What if we gave praise generously?

What if we were known for our kind words?

What if we went around surprising the people around us by praise and appreciation of them?

What if all Christians did this?

It could change lives.

It could make things better.

It could slowly but surely change the world.

Who’s in?

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On getting schooled by your 8-year-old on generosity

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I’ve read 4 books about generosity this year.

I meet with a team to discuss and plan for generosity.

I talk about generosity a lot in my work.

But you know who has taught me the most about generosity lately?  My 8-year-old son.

Last week, we were up at his school for open house.  We were standing in the hall as he showed me his work posted on the wall outside his classroom.  I was supposed to answer questions to see if I was smarter than a third grader.  (I’m happy to announce that I got my question right!  Whew!)

And then one of his friends walked by and I noticed it.  He had something on that was obviously Caleb’s.  I looked at Caleb.  Caleb looked at me.  I asked him about it.  He said he had let his friend borrow it.

It was something that I kind of have sentimental feelings about.  This item is something kind of special.

This kind of thing has happened before.

Years ago, Caleb was dying for some little toys that kids at school were getting through a fundraiser.  We were not doing the fundraiser, so he was not getting them.  Then one day much later, I was walking through Target and saw a box of them.  I don’t buy my kids toys very often, but I knew how much Caleb had been wanting them.  A wave of love for him flooded over me in the aisle, and I decided to buy them for him.  To surprise him with these small toys that he had been wanting for so long.

He took these toys with him everywhere.  He carried them in a little bag.  One night, we went to dinner with family and he left them at the restaurant.  On the way home, he realized he had left them and was freaking out.  I called the restaurant, but they said they didn’t see them.  I even left our phone number to call us back if they did turn up.

Months later, I found more of these small toys and bought them for Caleb.  They came in a pack of 12.  That same day, two of his friends came over to the house and he proceeded to give most of the toys away.

I’ll be honest.  I was hurt.  Buying him those toys had been a big deal to me.  It was an act of love.  It was something special that I wanted to do for him.  But he gave them away.

And I’ll be honest again.  Last week, standing in the hall at his school, I had him ask for this other special item back.

Later that night, I told Caleb how proud I was of him that he is so willing to give anything he has away.  No matter how special it is.  I really am proud of him.

But that night has haunted me ever since.

I don’t really know what I should have done.  Maybe I should have let the other kid keep the item that was special to me.  Or maybe I did the right thing to try to teach my son that sometimes things are just special and you need to think of what they mean to others also.

I really don’t know.

But I can tell you that I learned just how generous my son is.  And I should strive to be more like him.  I know for a fact he gives things away all the time.  If someone needs something or wants something, he wants to give anything he can.  And I know that because of his generosity, he is on the receiving end all the time too.  He comes home with things that kids from school gave him all the time.

These kids know how to give!

Over the last week, I’ve been wrestling with things.  I want to be someone who is extravagantly generous with all that I have.  I don’t want material things to have a hold on me.  I know everything that I have belongs to God.  I should be willing to give everything!

I want to be part of a church that is known for its extravagant giving.  A church that boldly gives money and things away to those that need them because it knows that God is not a God of scarcity…He is a God of enough.

I want to test God when He says, “Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

To do that, I need to be more like my 8-year-old son.