Creative Generosity

What conditions do we set for our own generosity?

Only if I get something in return. Only when I know they will be responsible with the gift. Only if it isn’t inconvenient for myself or my family. I’ll give money, but I don’t have any spare time to donate.

Keller (2010) quotes Psalm 41:1 which says ““Blessed is the man who considers the poor.” Translating the word “considers” from Hebrew carries a sense of “sustained attention.” In other words, not just a ‘hand-out peace-out’ kind of generosity, but a genuine care for those in unfortunate circumstances. This generosity calls for discernment, but not judgement. We are to be good stewards of the resources we’ve been placed in charge of, but we must obey the Master’s wishes in regards to the distribution of His resources.

There are plenty of passages throughout the Bible that speak to generosity and justice for the poor. A familiar verse is Luke 14:13-14, “when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.” Considering that Jesus equates Himself with the hungry, the stranger, the sick, and the imprisoned as objects of our generosity, then if we are to minister to Him, we can do it by comforting His creatures (Matthew 25).

Yet, we ask, exactly how much should we be giving? C.S. Lewis (1960) had something to say about generosity in his book, Mere Christianity. He advised,

“If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them” (Lewis, 1960).

Remembering what Jesus went through to save our souls, I think we ought to be willing to suffer even more than just inconvenience when He asks it of us in order to care for the poor.


References

  1. Burns, James MacGregor (2007-12-01). Transforming Leadership. Grove/Atlantic, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  2. Keller, Timothy (2010-11-02). Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  3. Lewis, C. S. (1960). Mere Christianity, rev. ed.
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Virtuous Leadership

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that once a person is in a committed leadership position, the idea of transferring that power to an adversary, let alone a faithful disciple, is not pleasant. Yet we witness such peaceful transferences of power in America at every level of government. For centuries with rare exceptions, rulers have chosen to die before giving up power. What makes America so different?

It started with the example of a virtuous leader—George Washington. He had every opportunity to take advantage of this new republic and become its king. They offered the chance on a silver platter! Yet he refused on principle and it has influenced America’s leaders every generation since.

Washington acknowledged Continue reading “Virtuous Leadership”

My Meyers-Briggs Type

Over the course of my leadership journey in school, I have grown in my self-awareness. This is partly due to my newfound understanding of my personality preferences according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. According to this test, I am an ISTJ. Thinking is my dominant trait, which I prefer to in my inner world as an introvert. Sensing is my auxiliary trait, which I use when I interact with the outside world as a balance to my dominant trait.

The official MBTI website describes this Type as “quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.” I can identify with all of these descriptors. As I read through them, situations come to mind that confirm their validity.

My primary source of energy comes from my own internal world. I rejuvenate best when I am on my own or with my best friend or family. We recently had a friend stay on our living room couch for a week and it definitely proved how much I value my private space. She stayed either in the house or with me the entire time, inviting herself into every aspect of my life. As much as I love this girl, I began to get anxious for the first time in my life. By the end of the week my body would occasionally tremble involuntarily, I felt constantly nauseous, and I had difficulty falling asleep or focusing on tasks. The moment she drove away, my appetite returned and I fell on the couch to sleep. It was an uncanny, but educational experience.

I have a weak preference between sensing and intuition in the way I take in information. Like someone with intuition, I tend to see the bigger picture when I look at a scene. Yet at the same time, I observe details that speak to the bigger picture using all of my senses.

Usually, I prefer to base my decisions in logic and on principle. Growing up, I would always identify with Spock, the emotionless, logic-driven Vulcan from Star Trek. To this day, I still prefer the logic in strategic decisions, although I have lately been learning how to make more feeling-based decisions. My roommate is a very feeling person who doesn’t always agree with my decisions, even if she recognizes the logic behind them. It is a good exercise, but my preference still hasn’t changed.

I have 5, 10, and 40-year plans for my life. I make lists and plan ahead and keep journals. I am more comfortable when decisions have been made and a plan is settled upon. However, I am internally open to deviation from said plan, if a better option presents itself. This reflects my extroverted preference for judging and my introverted preference for perceiving.

“[Sensing-Thinking types] are often found in careers that require a technical approach to things, ideas, or people, and tend to be less interested in careers that require nurturing of others or attending to their growth and development,” according to the MBTI website. Currently, in school, I am studying business accounting. If I make this my profession, then I imagine it will fit my type preferences very well. Most of accounting work is individual (Introversion) and requires one to be very observant of details while keeping a bigger picture in mind (Sensing). Decisions must be made logically (Thinking). There’s not much emotion in numbers and what ever emotion does get attached to the numbers must be ignored on an ethical basis. Lastly, accountants are expected to make decisions based on their work and be organized and confident in their answers (Judging).

I think of the verse that goes something like, “a man cannot have two masters—he cannot serve both God and money. Either he will love one and hate the other, or he will hate one and love the other.” If an accountant truly loved money, then that emotion could easily cloud their judgment and lead to harmful fraud. If, on the other hand, an accountant loved God, then they could be trusted to handle the money appropriately.

This exercise has really helped me to understand my preferences and the difference between myself and my peers. Someone’s spontaneity that might previously have annoyed me can now be embraced as a wonderful difference. It doesn’t matter if it’s not my preference to be spontaneous—I can enjoy the experience with insider knowledge.