October 24th, 2021
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. I’m writing this as I’m traveling home from a week in Florida where we visited Disney World and Universal Studios. It was a tiring week and the leg muscles are sore, but my spirit is light because we had wonderful experiences with people. As I look back, it is my experiences with people outside my family that brings special smiles because it was a generosity of spirit that shone at unexpected times. So sit back and take a deep, relaxing breath and let’s allow the spirit of generosity seep within us.
I know that within these theme parks the employees (i.e., cast members, as Disney refers to their employees) are told to smile and be friendly. But a smile usually causes a smile in return. And just the physical act of smiling affects our emotions. While waiting in lines, I found it fun to see how people react to those around them when conversation is initiated. It can start over a fun phrase on a shirt or our experience on a particular ride. My favorite experience is when we shared a raft with 6 others on a white-water ride. As we prepared, we helped one another get settled, put on jackets (like that would help), and offered to share plastic bags to keep cell phones dry. Laughing with strangers as we all experienced a generous deluge of water and braced for another – well, it makes you feel closer. Lol. There was definitely a spirit of generosity that reached beyond our individual worlds. There were so many other instances of generous spirit – what have you witnessed?
Generosity grows. It’s like planting a seed. From the seed grows a flower, a bush or possibly a tree. A year ago, we planted a spindly tomato plant in a planter on our front porch. It didn’t grow big and luscious, but it grew and offered us some wonderful homegrown cherry tomatoes. This year as we cleared our side garden next to our porch, we discovered a tomato plant starting to blossom and it had by far the best offering of cherry tomatoes this season. It had to have grown from a cherry tomato gone astray last fall whose seeds fell on fertile soil. You plant a seed of generosity and it grows where you planted it, which can also send off other seeds that spread, sprout, grow and blossom. What seeds of generosity have you witnessed from others or planted yourself?
When asked to give generously, remember that it can go beyond money. We do need to give generously where money makes a difference but enrich the experience by adding your heart.
How else can you give generously of yourself?
Generous with thoughts — about our neighbors AND ourselves. Be generous and non-judgmental even to yourself.
Generous with words — Break the silence. Speak words of encouragement. Don’t save accolades and encouragement for just the children.
Generous with attention — undivided. This is not a time to multi-task. People need to feel your focus.
Generous with time — This is our most valuable commodity. Be sure to share it because you can make a difference.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 it says, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (ESV)
As we gaze upon the creation around us, we realize that God has given us so much. Receiving such generosity from God creates gratitude, and gratitude creates a reaction of generosity.
“Free the full capacity of Christ’s mission through generosity that imitates God’s generosity.” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:2a)
Dear Generous God, we come in thankfulness for the breath we draw today. We give thanks that we can share a word with those we love and with those we do not know. Help us to recognize your spirit within us and to use it to form words and actions of generosity. Amen
Go forth today and give freely with extravagant generosity.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.