Around the world horrific things are happening and so many people are suffering. Our social media is filled with images and outcries, with opinions, questions and shows of solidarity.
Right now countless people are being asked to offer radical welcome and hospitality to those in desperate need. Many are having their former lifestyles altered in countless uncomfortable and unsettling ways.
It is easy for us to skim the news and leave others to deal with the tragedies and problems, as they are not our current issues. But what if they were? How ready am I to majorly inconvenience my life to help someone in desperate need? If I scored myself on a generosity scale, how would I do?
Since launching Heartistry in February I have tried to encourage generous living and true hospitality. I firmly believe that these are spiritual practices and help to move us from selfishness to service, from isolation to involvement, from comfort to community. I have sought to inspire us to action and practically instruct us on how to do it.
I encouraged you to “Just Add One”, knowing that as we just add one person to the table we will open our hearts a little and grow in generosity. I invited you to “Set the Table in September”, convinced that as we created a prepared place we would experience the joy of offering welcome. You were asked to "Try a Tray" as you set a simple tray to bless someone and challenged to invite people for a Fall Dinner. All these activities were just small ways to reach out in generosity and serve our family, friends and others in the community. At Heartistry, we will continue to learn together and be challenged to grow in the areas of generosity and hospitality.
The world needs people who will step out in radical generosity. This is not easy and challenges us to the core of who we are.
What prevents us from reaching out?
- Are our lives too busy for authentic, relational involvement and loving care?
- Does the sorrow of the broken world in which we live loom so large that it paralyses us, preventing us from even doing something small?
- Are we trying to protect our families and ourselves and thus have no time, energy or compassion for those outside the walls?
Many of us do want to help but may not know how. In this post I decided to address the sensitive issue of our penchant towards being self-focused and later will give suggestions of positive and practical ways we can help.
Here are 10 ways in which we can tame or at least tie up the self-centered parts of ourselves as we seek to grow in generosity!
- Deny ourselves something we want for a day or week or even for a month so that we can feel some of the loss others face daily
- Stretch ourselves to try something new and uncomfortable that will grow our capacity to serve others
- Feel the sorrow of the suffering and not rush to switch the channel or change the subject. Spend time in prayer for those in need
- Reduce the time and money we spend on entertainment to give margin to care for someone else
- Give away something new and attractive not just the old and worn out items we own
- Exercise our “generosity muscle” by intentionally giving beyond what we would normally give
- Document how we would want to be treated and helped if we were in someone else's position. Take one action step towards making that a reality
- Support someone who is able to do more than we can do because they are in the right geographical proximity or have the required skills
- Read about people who are radically generous as this will inspire us to step out and do the same
- Start small rather than waiting until we can work out the big plan we have in mind
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