Cheese Ball Generosity

The gravy boat and the carving knife are laid to rest for another year. Simultaneously, the warm fuzzy feelings of gratitude for all my blessings that permeated Thursday seem to quickly turn into confusion Friday.

This time of year, I feel a strong pull to give back in response to the blessings that become so real on Thanksgiving: the bounty of food, the coziness of the home we gather in, our health, and the beauty of the love in our family.

God has been so generous to me; I want to give back generously but lately that desire has really stressed me out. I don’t think generosity should work that way.  It shouldn’t be over calculated and complicated.

It’s just that with all the solicitations in the mail, it’s so hard to figure out who and what to donate to. Behind the free stuff: the customized return address labels, Christmas cards, sun catchers, socks and address books, are very needy and legitimate organizations that are doing so much good. I want to support them all but I can’t.

How do I decide? How do you decide?

The Bible tells us how simple generosity can be.
1Tim 6:19b   Be generous and willing to share.
Acts 20:35   Giving is better than receiving.
Heb 13:16    Do not forget to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

But it also says in 2Cor 9:6- 8, “Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will reap generously.

How do I know what is “generously”?

I invited my two oldest grandchildren, Emily (13) and James (11), to join me on Friday to shop for the older kids on the Christmas Toy Donation list that the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary had given Firstfruits. It was such a fun day for the three of us. For the most part they filled the cart with items for others, except for the bucket of cheese balls they very stealthily stashed when I wasn’t looking.

I found a freedom at first as we loaded the cart with six of this and four of that, way more than I normally buy at one time. As the day went on, I found myself getting more calculated and the giving became more complicated. That freedom was gone. I felt something creep in.

One of the definitions of generosity I found said, “Generosity is the virtue of being willing and liberal in giving. Free from pettiness in character and mind.”

Was it pettiness that creeped in?

It is said that we need to practice generosity. That the only limits on it are our mindset and character. It is also said that God cannot be outdone in generosity. We need to look at God’s generosity as our model, God’s character. He gives in abundance.

The sunrises and sunsets these last couple days have been God’s generosity on display. We don’t need that much color and majesty in our day but He gives in abundance. He gives lavishly.

As I approach these weeks of giving, it will afford me plenty of opportunities to practice generosity. I hope I can shed some of the pettiness and be open to God’s promptings to provide for others in a new and lavish way.

Cheese balls for everyone?


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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