I’m doing some research for our series at Evangel starting this Sunday called “Generosity Revolution” and I stumbled upon something that I found really interesting. Did you know that there is the “Science of Generosity”? Wow. I never thought of generosity being scientific.
Notre Dame University is doing research on the ‘science’ behind generosity and one of the projects they are looking at is to ask ‘scientifically’ if generosity spreads. I look forward to getting their findings when they are done.
But what I found really interesting was a quote in their brief… “If people never really behaved generously or altruistically toward one another social ties would dissolve and the network around us would disintegrate.”
Maybe we NEED to be generous to coexist. Maybe if we AREN’T generous, we will fail to truly be a community.
If that is true (which I tend to agree), then Proverbs 11:24 MSG totally makes sense to me. “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Think about it. Who do you like to hang around? The Givers? Or the Takers?
If you’re like the most of us… when “takers” come around the corner… we all become astronomers (we start aimlessly looking into the sky like we actually appear to know what we are looking for). We avoid them. We know what’s coming. We don’t say, “Boy, I wish I was more like them.” If anything, it’s the opposite.
But the “Givers”… ah… we could spend all day with them. These are the people who are surrounded by so many MORE people. A circle of Givers and Takers alike. And over the years I’ve noticed something… Givers have a FAR larger reach in community as well as respect and influence than the Takers.
So maybe Notre Dame is onto something that has been recognized by the rest of us for thousands of years without the science to back it up. That a key to a healthy community, or family, or in our case a church is not bearing with each other, but rather building each other up.
Maybe Generosity is actually in our Genes.
At least that’s how I unscientifically see it,
3 thoughts on “GENErosity – The War of Giving And Taking Is In Us.”
I don’t know anything about the science behind generosity however I do believe it has to be learned and not a part of our genes. Think back to your kids, or when we were young, everything is MINE and I WANT. We tend to start out as takers and LEARN to be givers and like any other “habit”, giving has to be practiced or we revert to being takers. I know that at times I catch myself being a taker or being selfish and have to work at turning it around. I do however agree that being around givers makes us better people as it encourages us to be like them.
Paula… I think you’re bang on. That’s the war going on in us. We are prone to be selfish people… we’re survivalists. Yet we can see (and sometimes can fail to see) that there are HUGE benefits of being selfless. I am of the belief that if we choose to switch camps (selfish to selfless) we will ultimately see and benefit from why and how God made us to be.
Good thought and perspective Paula.
I believe it is consistent with God’s character and thus is a desire that is in us yet stifled by the sin. This is the same as faith in God’s provision rather than the “I can do it by myself” attitude that the World likes to promote. God created us in His image and He is definitely a generous God.