Witnessing unsolicited acts of generosity always, always brings tears to my eyes. I can't help it, I just love it.
I love reading stories
about Tim Tebow flying in a fan with a serious illness or disability (and their whole family) to the city where he's playing and paying for them all to watch the game, stay in a nice hotel, and spend a lot of time with them.
I love watching news clips
of the Secret Santa from Kansas City, who was once homeless and received the generosity of a friend, then spent the rest of his life dropping $100 bills at the feet of people who were in need, asking them if they dropped something. He gave away nearly $1.5M over thirty years in $100 bills.
And I love when friends of mine tell me that they took a roommate out to dinner, paid the bill, and spent a few hours asking questions and listening to their fears, anxiety, and hopes for the future.
Generosity is a spark that reveals the best in people. Generosity is a spark that cuts through fear and self-centeredness and treats others the way God would treat them if he were you. Generosity inspires, catalyzes, and transforms.
Who's on your heart today, this week, to be unexpectedly, undeservedly, and radically generous towards?
...that I'm doing a good job." Humorous, but painful words by a woman who has changed how I think about helping people grow to their potential. Jen Zingg- author, educator, and corporate trainer, is a master of servant leadership principles. She's written a lot of curriculum for the Ken Blanchard
companies, including Student Situational Self Leadership
that I use with college students and young professionals. She's an innovative teacher and I'm sure hundreds, if not thousands, of young people have been touched and changed by her belief in them. She has a great point- have you ever had too many people tell you too often about the great work that you're doing- and you're sick of it?
highlighted the problem in his book, First Break All the Rules
. Employees are under-appreciated and it leads to distrust, low retention, poor productivity and dismal engagement. What if you became known for being someone in the workplace who was always giving and showing appreciation when it was deserved? It's very easy to take for granted what people do to function in their job positions and forget to thank them for showing up and doing their work well. I wonder if appreciation is so hard to come by because everyone is trying to get noticed, as if gratitude was a limited commodity? Or maybe in a competitive environment where there's a shortage of possible promotions, showing appreciation feels like advancement suicide?
Well, what if you and I were different? What if we eagerly sought to notice and point out the exceptional things other people are doing, or even the ordinary things. I talked with a friend last week who supervises two women who are working moms. My friend had an epiphany that she should start appreciating the extra effort these two moms are taking these days to juggle household demands and do a job-well-done. Showing gratitude builds trust. It creates an environment where everyone strives to do their best. It changes attitudes and it changes behavior. It kills negativity, cynicism and sarcasm. It births friendship and joy, not to mention better teamwork, results, and productivity.
Who do you need to appreciate today?
Harbor Faith & Work Ministry presents…Stuck in Stuff?
Seminar – Sat, Feb 5, 9am – 12:30pm
Full closets and cupboards stuffed to the gills, but still not satisfied in your soul? Transform your life, your vocation, and culture through simplicity.
Author, speaker, and advocate for simple living, Dave Bruno
, instigated the 100 Thing Challenge
movement which had gained international attention. This simple-living project focused on helping average folks break free from the constraints of excessive consumerism. Dave’s story of downsizing and pursuing what really matters in life is thoughtful, funny, and highly practical. His remedy for people who feel “stuck in stuff” is easy to understand and obtain.
Pre-registration is required. Here’s what the Tribune
had to say about Dave.
Location: University of San DiegoView Flyer
I ran across a great, short article by Nancy Lublin, the CEO of the non-profit organization, Do Something
, in Fast Company
magazine (see full article
), called "'Thank You' Goes a Long Way"
. She cited research that eventually made it into a book called the Carrot Principle that examines the financial effects of organizations that focus on recognizing and acknowledging the work of its employees. The research shows that the organizations that focus on recognition see three times the return in comparison to organizations that don't. Is it just a positive and motivating environment that's created that leads to increased productivity and teamwork, or could there be something more?
Jesus, of course, is our model for showing and freely giving away recognition. Remember what he does in Matthew chapter 26 when a woman gives him shockingly expensive perfume? While his companions see it as foolishness, Jesus uses the moment to recognize the woman's gift and her heart behind it. The scriptures don't record what happens to her following this scene, but I'm guessing that she didn't walk away disappointed about his reaction or embarrassed about what she did. I bet she was inspired for more generosity and had a spring in her step. While we may be tempted to avoid giving away recognition for fear of puffing others up, Jesus seems to see those moments as opportunities to praise and point to the type of behavior and attitude that exemplify people who are truly good on the inside and out. But there's even more going on. When we thank people and authentically show appreciation for them
, we're creating an environment for what God wants to happen to actually happen. There's a writer in the Old Testament in the Bible that says, "Sow for yourselves righteousness...until he comes and showers his righteousness on you" (Hosea 10:12). In other words, do what's truly right, and God will show up and do his thing. So, merely saying "thank you"
is a good idea for a lot of reasons. Who do you need to be thanking- today?Thank you for reading.
A friend of mine suggested reading an article and listening to the work of economist, Arthur C Brooks
about philanthropy and generosity. His research is blowing traditional assumptions of giving out of the water.
Brooks surprisingly finds that those who give more actually receive more money after they give. Brooks writes, "Say you have two identical families—same religion, same race, same number of kids, same town, same level of education—everything’s the same, except that one family gives $100 more to charity than the second family. Then the giving family will earn on average $375 more in income than the non-giving family—and that’s statistically attributable to the gift"
Is this the prosperity gospel repackaged? Or, are there timeless and unchanging truths that have invaded our world? Jesus talked about being more blessed when we give than when we receive (see Acts 20:35). Could it be true that the universe is designed in a counterintuitive way?
In further research, Brooks uncovered additional proof that giving is good not just for you but for all involved. He says, "If we were to increase our private charitable donations by just 1 percent, which is about $2 billion a year, that would translate into a gross domestic product of about 39 billion new dollars. If I can take your $2 billion in charity and turn it into $39 billion, then suddenly charitable giving is not just a great investment for you. It’s also a patriotic act for our country because it translates into jobs, growth, opportunity, and tax revenues."
Now, what if a new generation of young people entering the workforce were inspired by the idea to freely give of themselves away and infect others with the spirit of generosity? I wonder if being a spiritual leader at work is less about carrying your Bible to work with you (not that that's wrong), and more about whimsically offering your money, your time, your attention, and your friendship to others?