How gratitude fuels generosity: Experiencing the giver’s high.

written by Eric Most, VP Relationship Manager

“I’ve heard of a runner’s high. Is there a giving high? I think maybe we’ve found it!”

I’ll never forget these words spoken by NCF giver Clyde Lear. As I watched Clyde come to this realization, he and his wife, Sue, giggled in delight. It was then that it hit me: I have never met a grumpy generous person.

You see, there is joy in showing our gratitude for all God has given us by sharing it generously with others. God desires and commands for us to have joy, and He loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). For you, that may be giving of your finances, time, intelligence, or material possessions. In order for us to experience generosity as a joyful expression of gratitude like Clyde and Sue, we can’t give grudgingly or hold tightly to what’s been entrusted to us. 

An abundance mindset
We hold something with a tight fist when we think it’s ours, when we believe we have ownership of it. When we truly understand and believe that we are just stewards of all that God has given us, our grip loosens. That doesn’t mean we go bury it in the sand and wait for our Master to come back (Matthew 25:14-30). It doesn’t mean that we are to be frivolous either.  When we realize all wealth is God’s, it places us in a posture of gratitude and allows us to be abundantly generous. 

Like the poor widow in The Gospel of Mark that gave her entire livelihood away while others gave a portion of their wealth. Those two coins meant a lot to her, and I like to think she gave them in pursuit of joy. 

Or Mary, who broke the alabaster jar of oil over Jesus, anointing him. She cried as she did so, not because the expensive oil could have been sold at a high price, but out of joy and gratitude for Christ. 

Radical generosity 
Don’t get me wrong – giving away what we have isn’t always easy. No matter our type or level of wealth, there is likely a grip of materialism on our lives. Yet we need only look to the cross to help break us of this natural tendency to hold things tightly. We can be radically generous because we have a radically generous God. A Father who sent his own son, knowing what was to happen to him, to be our sacrifice to reconcile us to Him. Our generosity as believers can be a joy-filled expression of gratitude as we reflect on our generous Father to us. 

As we usher in the Thanksgiving season, I pray we look outside of ourselves and search for opportunities to be radically generous. 2020 has given us several reasons to feel strain on our mental health. Many of us are anxious, worried, isolated. These feelings tend to keep us self-focused. I encourage you to think about how you can be generous with your finances, time, ideas, or resources this holiday. What would it mean to just go spend some time with a lonely neighbor, or drop off a meal to a family that has been feeling the strain of life? As you find ways to be generous as a joyful expression of gratitude, please share with me! It will truly make my Thanksgiving. 

Need ideas on how to show gratitude through giving? Check out NCF’s 2020 Giving Season Guide.