By Tim (Social Content Guy)
Lately I have been reminded of how awesome generosity is and how it truly builds friendships. What kick started all this was when a friend of mine was very generous to me. My friend Doug, who also works here at Saddleback, recently came to visit me. While he was here he showed me his very nice everyday carry collection. This collection included several quality knives. He asked if I had a knife and I, somewhat bashfully, showed him my $20 Leatherman knife. After examining it he said, “This is as dull as a spoon!”
Sadly, he was right. He then proceeded to pick up a Kershaw from his everyday carry collection and handed it to me. He said, “Here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll take your Leatherman home and sharpen it, then send it back to you. You can have this knife and keep it so you will have two knives.” I was a bit surprised and asked, “Are you sure?” Not only was he offering me one of his own knives, but also it was certainly worth much more than my Leatherman. Wow! Offering to sharpen my knife was kind enough, so the additional offer of giving me the Kershaw was extremely generous!
He left the next day with my Leatherman. Each day I carried around the Kershaw I thought of Doug and how generous he had been. I enjoyed showing it off to friends and telling the story. A few weeks later I got a direct message on Instagram with a picture of my Leatherman sharpened and oiled up. Accompanying the picture was a short message asking if I needed any products for my beard. Side note: Doug owns a wonderful beard company called CanYouHandleBar.com and has been generously giving me beard products for several years. I’ll write about that in another entry.
Within a few days I had received a package containing my sharpened Leatherman, some beard soap, and some really cool CanYouHandleBar patches. The knife was as sharp, if not sharper, than the day I bought it, and spotlessly clean. I now have two sharp knives! The whole experience taught me something about Doug and about generosity. When someone is generous to us it builds and strengthens our friendship.
Practicing generosity is a choice we make. It is a choice to focus on, and love someone else, more than ourselves. It is a choice to not seek self-preservation, but rather, to bless others. The act of being generous shows the recipient that we truly care for them. As a result, it opens up their hearts toward us. When we’re generous or receive generosity it opens our hearts to friendship.
There are two ways of being generous that I want to mention briefly. Hopefully it will spark some encouragement. The first is that of physically giving gifts to each other. This shows we care about someone. When Doug gifted me with the Kershaw I know it was because he cared about me. He wasn’t doing it to get anything from me. When we choose to be generous we are putting another person before ourselves. It’s also an excellent reason to get together with someone. Call up a friend. Tell them you have something to give them and see when you can get together. It will strengthen your friendship.
The second way of being generous is by giving of our time. Keep your eyes and ears open for needs of people around you. Then give them some of your time and help out in whatever way is needed. Giving of our time to help someone move, volunteering somewhere locally, or just getting together and being a good listener, is an act of generosity. These days we’re all so busy that this one can be challenging and all the more reason to do it. When Doug came to visit me he was on a road trip. He didn’t have to drive down to see me (he lives near Detroit and I am in Colorado). He also didn’t have to offer to take the time to sharpen and clean my knife then mail it back to me. Again, this generosity strengthened our friendship.
I am sure you can see why this experience got me thinking about generosity and friendships. These are just a few thoughts I have on how practicing generosity builds friendships. I hope you’re encouraged and that you begin to, or continue to practice generosity. You will be able to see how it opens your heart, as well as, the hearts of those who are receiving your generosity.