Generosity Inspires Generosity
“HE THAT sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Those words of the Christian apostle Paul are good advice, not only for gardeners and farmers, but for all who would have good relations with their Creator and their fellows.—2 Cor. 9:6.
True, there are those who abuse generosity, but in the main the words of Jesus apply: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 6:38.
Jesus Christ himself experienced the working out of this principle in his earthly ministry. He was the personification of generosity. Zealously and unselfishly he preached the good news of God’s kingdom to the poor. He comforted the mourning ones, cured the sick, healed the blind and crippled and even raised the dead. He neither charged for his services nor expected a certain salary to be paid him; he did not even take up collections, things that are common practice on the part of ever so many who claim to be following in his footsteps. Yet Jesus never wanted for anything in the way of food, clothing or shelter, even if he did not have a home that he could call his own. People generously, voluntarily supported him in his ministry.—Luke 7:22; 8:1-3; 9:58.
Not only did his generosity inspire others to give him the material necessities of life, but it also inspired others to show like generosity in leaving all things to share in his ministry. Thus on one occasion he was able to send out twelve apostles to preach and perform miraculous works and on another occasion to send out seventy others of his disciples to do the same work. And what an example of generosity those early Christians showed right after Pentecost! Those among them who had property sold it and brought the proceeds to the apostles so that none among them would be in need.—Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-7; Acts 4:32-35.
That generosity inspires generosity is just as true today as it was in the days of early Christianity. The Christian witnesses of Jehovah generously give of their time, energy and means to let others hear the good news of God’s kingdom. Why? Because they have become acquainted with the generous God Jehovah. Concerning him we read, “God is love.” From him comes down “every good gift and every perfect present,” including that of his only-begotten Son, the costliest gift of all.—1 John 4:8; Jas. 1:17; John 3:16.
In turn, as they manifest generosity by preaching the good news of God’s kingdom still others are inspired to express generosity by sharing with them in preaching the good news. Likewise in their local congregations the presiding minister and his ministerial assistants generously serve without pay, take no collections, and so it is not surprising that the necessary means for the renting or building of Kingdom Halls is voluntarily, generously contributed by the individual members of these congregations. To all such the inspired words apply: “The righteous is generous and gives.”—Ps. 37:21, RS.
That generosity inspires generosity was strikingly illustrated at the worldwide “Good News for All Nations” District Assemblies held during the summer of 1968. For example, two women had freely turned over their home to a group of Witnesses attending the Spokane, Washington, assembly. The Witnesses, not wishing to accept the accommodations altogether free, used a glass jar for each one to contribute something for the use of the rooms. At the end of the assembly the two women brought the money to the auditing department of the assembly as a contribution to the cause of the Witnesses. The total amount was $50.81.
At one assembly in Denmark, Witness painters assisted the painter employed by the new sports stadium so that he could get his job done before his vacation and also before the Witnesses used the stadium for their assembly. This generous gesture so pleased the stadium manager that he did not charge the assembly for the use of lights and telephone during the assembly. Truly generosity inspires generosity.
Today many accuse youths of being selfish, and not without some good reason. But could not at least part of the reason be the fact that adults are not setting them an example of unselfishness? That this could well be the case can be seen by the cooperation Witness youths gave their elders at these District Assemblies. Commenting on this fact, the Montreal, Canada, La Presse, Canada’s largest French-language daily, August 7, 1968, stated:
“Another useful contribution of Jehovah’s witnesses is the accent this group places on family unity, respect for the authority of the family head and participation by adolescents in common endeavors. In these three spheres we get the impression that certain of their methods might be studied and profitably used by other religious denominations . . . It is interesting to observe that instruction based on Bible principles . . . produces in general a youth better protected from delinquency.” Yes, these young folks are inspired to unselfish activity by reason of the generous example of their parents and elders.
Does generosity inspire generosity? No question about it! The principle Jesus Christ stated, that generosity influences others to be generous, is true. That principle is also implied in the words of wise King Solomon: “The generous soul will itself be made fat, and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.”—Prov. 11:25.