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Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 in Blog, Life |

What Does It Mean to Be Generous?

What Does It Mean to Be Generous?

If you haven’t already heard, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have pledged to give away 99% of their net worth to charitable causes over their lifetime.  If you’ve read about it already, you’ve likely also seen the wave of articles such as this one picking apart the couple’s generosity due to a variety of reasons, such as the tax benefits and the nature of the organization the money will be pledged to.

When was the last time any of those writers gave away 99% of their net worth?

Yes, there is truth in what they are writing.  Yes, there are clear advantages in the manner in which the Zuckerbergs are handling the donation.  Does any of that devalue the $45 billion that will be given to do good or the motivations of the givers?

It brings to mind the question, “What does it mean to be generous?”  And in a culture that isn’t inherently generous, but rather quite consumeristic, I think we struggle with answering the question.  During this time of year, I think its appropriate for us to take an introspective look at this question and decide what generosity means for each one of us.  While what’s at the core may be the same, I think generosity will look a little different for each of us.  One of the questions I’ve been wrestling with for some time is:

Does my giving change the way I spend my money, or does the way I spend my money change the way I give?

I concluded it was the latter.  My spending was limiting my generosity.  This fall we’ve done and will continue to do some things to “flip the script” on that.  Another question worth asking is, “Am I comfortable with my level of giving?”  Perhaps being truly generous involves some level of pain or discomfort.  Bottom line: define generosity for you and your family, and make a plan to live into that definition.

So now to a shameless plug for good.

WBR_brand_transparentIf you’re looking for a way to practice generosity and, perhaps, reap the tax benefits of such an act, I have a cause for you that my wife and I have been supporting for the past several years (and in the interest of full disclosure, I also serve on the board).  Whetstone Boys Ranch in West Plains, MO, is an amazing organization that is facilitating the life change of at risk young men.  It was started by a small group of dreamers who wanted to impact generations by altering the trajectories of young men’s lives today.  Through no small amount of blood, sweat, tears, and even overcoming significant destruction by a tornado this year, Whetstone is truly sharpening the character of young men and shaping the future of families in ways that only God could accomplish in such a short amount of time.

But don’t take my word for it.  Check out their website and connect with them on Instagram or Facebook (now the conversation has come full circle).  Listen to the stories, look at the pictures, and decide for yourself if this is a cause worthy of your generosity.

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