Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Being Generous in Tragedy

When a tragedy strikes today we are immediately surrounded by words and images. We sit in our living rooms and stare at the screen insure of what to do. After all, you are sitting in relative luxury and looking into utter chaos and disaster that is only made possible by technology.

So what do you do? Many of us pick up the phone or go to our computers and make a gift. Usually we do this for a mixture of reasons. We want to feel like we did something. We want to ease our guilt. We want to make a difference. The reasons go on and on.

But as we are watching the images from this latest tragedy in Haiti, I would like to ask you to be generous in a different way. Here are some simple things that take a very different spin on how we as generous minds should response:

  1. If you don't know anything about Haiti, go to the CIA Factbook and get some understanding so that you can pray.
  2. Share what you have learned with a co-worker, someone in your family or someone at church.
  3. Pray with your family for the victims and talk about the tragedy with your kids.
  4. Give in community. Instead of making giving an isolated effort, give with your family, your church or your work. Transfer some of what you have learned to others and challenge them to action as well.
  5. Find out if there are Haitian churches in your city and reach out.
  6. Search the Bible and ask the questions about this kind of suffering and why God allows it.

Our actions are usually so isolated. We assuage our emotions and respond based on our experiences. But a Generous Mind responds by sharing, connecting and bringing something they care about to a larger community.

Will you do that in this tragedy? Will you be a Generous Mind for the people of Haiti?


Eric Foley said...

Jon, this is tremendous counsel. One of the seldom noted elements of biblical giving is that God holds us accountable not simply for giving but for the results of our giving. Being moved out of compassion to give is good, and yet it can become zeal without knowledge if we don't pair that compassion with insight on how to make a genuine difference, which, as you so rightly point out, is typically done in community.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Thanks for the comment Eric. You are right, if we respond in community and ask questions from a posture of growing and learning then God can use our generosity in amazing ways.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts with us, John. We'll be putting it to good use! I especially liked the suggestion to seek out Haitian churches in the area, to reach out, pray, and mourn with them.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Glad the thoughts were helpful Rachel. We have been praying with our kids and challenging them to engage kids at school with the need. My daughter came home and shared how she had told several classmates about it who knew nothing of the tragedy.

Matt Bates said...

Marilyn McCord Adams with an interesting take on the problem of evil from a Christian perspective:

Based on her position, a transformational (?)question that springs to mind is: how can we, like God, suffer with those who are suffering in this tragedy and resist the temptation to remain aloof? And is it possible that some gifts, or ways of giving, inoculate us from suffering and permit us to remain aloof?

Terry said...

Thanks for the post. I had already started the process of making a financial donation in connection with a larger community. Your other suggestions helped me further my involvement.

I pick up my grandchildren after school and plan to engage them in conversation to help them understand more about the situation. Perhaps they will be able to share with some of their schoolmates as your children have done.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Terry, that is so exciting to see how your interaction with your community and your investment in your grandkids will lead to transformation in your life as well as in the lives of those you have involved. Please come back to the blog and share what God does through your efforts!