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 www.generousmind.com.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Need Clarity? Tell Your Story!

Progress comes with a price. Our modern world saw so many amazing advances because we allowed many silos of expertise to grow and develop around us. "I'm a dentist." "I'm an expert in 20th Century Asian American Culture." "I know everything about Cocker Spaniels." We talk about this issue of silos in our book, Through the River.

One of the things lost in our focus on progress and areas of expertise is a sense for the larger story of our times, our professions and our lives. You can only find your story if you take down the silos around you and look at all the elements of your life together. Then you begin to see the narrative of your life in new and unique ways.

A great way to be a Generous Mind is to tell your story. Believe us, it is helpful to others as well as yourself. As you tell your story and weave together education, family, work, hobbies, learning, and other key aspects of your life, you will get many new insights into who you are and where you should focus your efforts. But your story also helps those around you. Through the telling of it, you will inspire others and give them new perspectives on their own stories.

Who could you tell your story to today?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Generous Mind Story: Contentment

Introduction
Ron Pritz is our guest blogger today. He is the Executive Director of Organizational Development for OC International. When I heard his story recently I was compelled to ask him to share with our Generous Mind community about the task that is in front of him and how he is approaching it. Take a moment to read about how Ron is stewarding a large donation for the organization even as we struggle through recession.

Contentment
“. . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . “ Philippians 4: 11b-12a (NIV)

The proper response to God’s provision, whether full or sparse, is the faith response of contentment. Like most mission agencies today, my organization, OC International, has had its share of struggles over the past two or three years in terms of matching spending to income. Hard decisions have had to be made. Times of pain have occurred.

But last December the Lord did something beyond our experience and even beyond our ability to “ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20). From a treasure trove of artifacts from 18th century Chinese royalty, the Lord gave us a completely unsolicited and unprecedented gift of $2,000,000 to be used for projects for our mission’s work around the world.

Because this gift was designated to projects and not primarily to operating expenses, we continue to lean on the Lord for His faithful monthly provisions. However, with this wonderful gift there has been a certain thrill throughout the organization that, for the first time, many ministry dreams are now becoming realities. Never before have we been able to go out to our people, challenging them to dream and soliciting from them strategic projects that will grow the Kingdom.

For the most part we have only been able to identify with the Apostle Paul in the “I know what it is to be in need” portion of the Philippians passage. And in those circumstances we, like most believers, find ‘contentment’ more of a challenge. But in these last few months we have enjoyed joining Paul in experiencing “what it is to have plenty.” But in the end Paul’s point is neither need nor plenty. His point is contentment. So our prayer is that the Lord will give us His grace to rejoice in this wonderful gift while realizing that He grants us ‘needs’ so that we can learn contentment in those times as well.

Can we really have contentment no matter whether the Lord graces us with plenty or graces us with little? Both are part of His provision and are linked to what He is doing in our lives and in our organizations.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Generosity Means Going Beyond Expectations

Part of being a Generous Mind is to go beyond the expectations of those who you are sharing with. Everyone comes to a conversation with expectations of what you will share and how you will invest in them. Most of the time people underwhelm in this area. We share too little and fail to pass on things that matter. But once in a while someone breaks the barrier of expectations and shares something of great significance. I found that to be true with the sermon shared by the Bishop of London at the royal wedding recently.

Take a moment to read the transcript below and respond to this blog post with what you received from his act of generosity:

Wedding Sermon given by the Bishop of London

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day this is. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many people are fearful for the future of today’s world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each other.

The spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. People can dream of such a thing but that hope should not be fulfilled without a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely the power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

"Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon."

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive. We need mutual forgiveness in order to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads on to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can receive and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today will do everything in their power to support and uphold you in your new life. I pray that God will bless you in the way of life you have chosen. That way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.