Sunday, November 08, 2015

What Extravagant Giving Means To Me


I'm taking the liberty of sharing a post I wrote some years ago about what true financial well-being looks like for me. Although I've made some additions and changes to clarify the text, the heart of the message remains the same. And, reading it all over again, I realize my heart still feels the same way too.

I do give a glimpse of the book I was reading at the time; however, I was more eager share my excited discovery as to what truly constituted financial wellness for me.

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 Original post published November 17, 2009

If you look around, many people have some level of angst and negative emotion when it comes to their finances. Many aren't happy about their situations. Quite frustrated, in fact. I could say the same for myself; that's really why I started reading a book by David Hicks entitled Healing Your Financial Soul. The author said the problem is not lack of money or advice, but rather that one's finances are "simply demonstrating what you actually believe, deep down, about money and your relationship with it."

The author promises the reader a lighter, more fun way to discover what we truly believe at a deeper level about money and our relationship to it. Whether what we believe is really true. One exercise has the reader thinking about his or her financial dreams and what that actually looks like. Which is what got me thinking about what true financial well-being would look like for me. And then to create a statement that reflects that desire. And then to repeat it and write it down ... often. To keep thinking about it.

So, after a lot of soul searching, I realize that, for me, it really isn't about owning a big house beautifully furnished or having lots of top-end designer clothes and jewelry. It isn't about expensive holidays on luxury yachts or living in a villa on some island in the Mediterranean (although those would be lovely).

No, my heart yearns towards something different ... at the very bottom of what I would like to be able to do if I had more than enough, would be to give gifts of material things as well as finances without worrying about the cost or whether I could afford to be that generous.

"I want to be rich in...
extravagant giving and generous hospitality,
and to always have more than enough
to give to every good work." BL

After all, wouldn't it be neat if we could at this time of year, when Christmas catalogs arrive from charitable organizations like World Vision or Samaritan's Purse, we could buy not just one or two goats, but one of everything in the catalog. Just like that! And know it's making a difference to a family or village, and not being anxious in any way about the affordability.

Or, to come alongside and make some payments on someone's mortgage (or even pay it off) when the breadwinner suddenly loses his or her job.

To me, extravagant giving doesn't necessarily mean the gift is expensive. It could be, but it's more about being able to give that 'absolutely perfect' something that sets eyes to dancing and hearts to singing right when you find it. It means watching for that yearning in a person's voice or eyes when they say, "Oh I wish I could..." and being able to do something about it, instead of you also being a wisher ... wishing you could help.

For me, extravagant giving also means blessing the waiter with a really generous tip sometimes, whether or not they deserve it. It means pressing a $20 into a needy person's hand (or maybe even a $100) with nary a thought for my pocketbook. It's taking someone out for a simple dinner or sending a world-weary couple to the mountains for an all-expenses-paid weekend retreat.

It's wrapping up out-of-the-blue surprises with pretty paper and glamorous bows. It's following the Divine Nudge that says, Go down this street and leave a jar of peanut butter and milk on that doorstep, (only to find out later that somebody in that house prayed for that very thing)!

It's about giving away things from my own wardrobe, whether to an individual or Goodwill, not just stuffing it into a garbage bag, but folding and wrapping it in tissue, securing it with a colourful ribbon and putting it in a shopping bag so it arrives looking lovely, rather than like somebody else's discards.

It means extending the gift of hospitality and opening my home -- inviting a friend for tea or a group of 25 for a meal, without thinking twice about the food budget.

For me, extravagant giving also means writing real notes and letters on beautiful stationery and cards to affirm affection or encourage a weary soul.

Ahh ... such a dream. Now, I know how tempting it is to shut down such thinking before it even has a chance to breathe. If we shut it down as useless, of course, then it will be impossible. Perhaps that's where we could ask for Divine Wisdom to know how to make such a desire a reality in some measure.

Susan Branch often encourages her readers by saying, "If you can dream, you can make it so." 

In the meantime, I've been imagining myself an extravagant giver and have begun in small ways and tiny steps, giving from what I have right now, small as it may be. Didn't Someone once say that as we give it shall be given back to us? What if that's the answer?  

May our eyes actually see that so much is truly possible, and may our hearts dare to dream something more than we dare.

Here's to beautiful changes in our finances,


  1. Beautiful post, with much to think about. Your heart for others is very evident in your words.

    blessings to you today,

  2. That is exactly how I would spend my money if I could afford to do that!!!

  3. This is a very good post! You have the right concept to living. The exciting thing about living is that you can never outgive God. He gives us so much and it is a real joy to share that with those He brings into our pathway. I love the way you wrote this and the heart that God has given you. It was a real joy to read these words. I wanted to say " Amen"!

  4. I agree....we should be able to use our money for more than just bills and taxes. Be neat to be able to bless part in an answer to somebodies prayer. Hope your journey to reach your dreams is a short one!

  5. Extravagant giving and generous hospitality.
    I really like this saying. I like the way you put into words.
    You inspire me to do better.

  6. A delightful post Brenda.
    You, of course, give so much just with words.

  7. I wasn't going to read this post because money issues are something I'd rather not think about ;) This has got me thinking though. In fact I have been wondering what to do for my neighbour's girlfriend whose mother just passed away suddenly. You're right, we have to start small or we'll never do anything, and our life will be full of missed opportunities to show just a little kindness where we can. Thank you for the push that I needed ;)

  8. Oh my goodness Brenda that is so beautiful I have goosebumps! To be generous in hospitality and extravagant in giving!!!
    How different our world could be! I'll start with me..:)
    God bless...

  9. So glad you shared this beautiful and thought-provoking post again, Brenda. It matches this weekend's Gospel reading about the poor widow's offering...

  10. This is a beautiful message, and I see You doing so many things for others, and always "wrapped pretty"

  11. As one who has been offered extremely generous gifts, not once but twice, during this time of my husband's illness, I am nodding my head at the heart of this post! Generous giving, sharing with our brothers and sisters, is a mark of the New Testament Church...and a mark of those in the Body of Christ!

  12. What a wonderful post Brenda. There's so much happiness in giving, and I, too, would love to do many of the things you mention. Extravagant things like sending weary friends to Hawaii! But you're right, even "little" things, such as a batch of cookies or a handwritten note is a way to start. Every time I've given something up in order to give to someone else, I've been incredibly happy :) Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. I see I commented the first time this posted. I'll comment again and say what a wonderful post this is. There is incredible joy in giving to others.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo