GENEROSITY: TWO LESSONS FROM TWO GREAT MEN

My father is the most generous person in the whole world! He took on the responsibility of caring for the old, the sick and the vulnerable in our neighborhood. He always told us that he couldn’t stand seeing anyone suffer because of poverty or disease. As a child, my dad’s grand acts of generosity baffled me because we were a humble family, and it was clear that occasionally he struggled to raise our school fees. One such act of kindness that replays in my mind to date is when a man and his wife from our neighborhood died, and my father took on the guardianship of his children.

When I started working, for a little while I was staying at my parents’ home. I bought a small car and every evening I would pick up my dad. He always needed convincing and he would get in begrudgingly because the car was apparently too small to give other people rides. He just couldn’t stand leaving people he knew on the road.

Later, I got married to Newbold who turned out to be equally kind and generous. I remember on our wedding day, his siblings recounted how kind and generous he had been to them, and all the guests started shedding tears of joy and I knew immediately that I was lucky to have married a man like my father.

Seeing the generosity of these two great men firsthand has shown me just how much joy, peace and satisfaction it brings. No physical possessions can do that! It has now rubbed off on me.

Recently in the thick of the pandemic, many people lacked food and I decided to start a new tradition for my family. In addition to feasting and eating cake, on each our children’s birthdays, we would give out food to the hungry and to the orphans who live in a slum in one of the city outskirts.

I know that I’m not where I need to be, but I will get there following in the footsteps of the two great men in my life.

My father and my husband have taught me two important lessons about generosity. The first lesson is that if you base your happiness on what the world gives you, you will always be discontent. True happiness comes from your contribution to the world. Power is vested more in the giver than the receiver. The second lesson I have learnt is that when you give, your cup never runs dry.

2 Corinthians 9:6–8 says: ‘Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’

My life is precious and important, I value every minute of it. I intend to use those minutes properly to accomplish the most I can, in the time that I have.