Listening to the Overtones – Generosity

In the last week, I’ve ‘listened’ to Exponential, Catalyst West and QTalks.

When a choir is in perfect tune, you can hear a note that isn’t there.  It’s called an ‘overtone’.  Sometimes, if you listen between the spaces, you can hear what God is saying.

This is the overtone that I am hearing:

God is calling us to Generosity.

Generosity of emotional resources. It is easy to live in isolation.  We can go through life fulfilling all of our functions and never take the risk of allowing other people to know us for who we are.

Yet in those real relationships we find authenticity, discipleship, and an honest reflection of ourselves as God sees us.  ‘Letting people in’ emotionally means giving to people who will be cranky at times and perhaps hurt our feelings.  This is hard!  But it is in those risky relationships that we find God working on us and through us to show Himself.

Generosity of time resources. Time is our commodity right now.  When we give our time, we give what we hold most precious.  Most people, no matter their background, are lonely and need to be listened to.  Others need you to given your time and energy to help make their life a bit easier.  Giving of our time means letting God set our agenda.  To us, this feels very risky.

Generosity of intellectual resources. Admitting we don’t know it all is the first step to wisdom.  Being willing to be part of  a conversation with others – to share our perspective and honestly listen gives value to others who aren’t like us.  Many  people find others who think just like themselves and find those conversations comfortable.  There is risk in sharing what you know with people who might not understand your perspective right away.

Generosity of physical resources. Whether it is the gift of hospitality, or the gift of giving, we have so much to give.  What would it take to invite a family from the homeless shelter to share an evening meal and game of Uno with your family?  We can give globally, like Tom’s Shoes, but we can also give locally – many around us just don’t have family, a home environment, or the ability to relax for an evening.  Looking at our resources from a different perspective can help us think with an attitude of generosity.

Generosity of spiritual resources. We have forgiveness.  We need to extend it to others.  We have mercy.  We need to extend it to others.  We have relationship with God.  Does it affect our lives so that others can tell?

As Christians, and as church leaders, we stand in the middle of culture and bridge the gap.  You know when you introduce two people?  Where do you stand?  Between them.  You speak both of their languages.

We have relationship with God.  We need to share it with others.  Not just in words, but through forgiveness, hospitality, ministry of presence (just hanging out), authenticity.  All of these take risk.  Risk is good.  It’s what makes bungee jumping a rush, what makes skiing/snowboarding worth the exorbitant price, and why people jump out of airplanes.  Why not risk for the sake of others instead of just for the rush?  It is so worth the landing!


One Response to “Listening to the Overtones – Generosity”

  1. decarter Says:

    Wow. Awesome post. Loved the idea of the overtone of generosity. I heard that too!

    I was able to attend #catwest physically (and the other 2 via twitter & blogs) and am so impressed with the generous spirit I see. It is like seeing God’s beautiful heart expressed through a whole generation of people.

    So glad I found your blog. I like how you think and appreciate your heart.

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