Thursday, December 15, 2011


Jesuit theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one’s self to others.” Anyone who has unselfishly helped another person knows this to be true. Yet not everyone is able to adopt an ongoing mind-set of giving toward others. Why is that? I believe it has nothing to do with circumstances. I’ve met generous people with almost nothing who were willing to share what little they possessed. And I’ve met well-off people who were stingy with their time, money, and talents. The issue is really attitude.

People who give with no strings attached almost always have an abundance mentality. They are generous because they believe that if they give, they will not run out of resources. Pastor and former college professor Henri Nouwen states, “When we refrain from giving, with a scarcity mentality, the little we have will become less. When we give generously, with an abundance mentality, what we give away will multiply.”

I have found this to be true. Someone once asked me why he should adopt an abundance mentality, and he was surprised by my answer. I told him that if you believe in abundance, that’s what life gives you. If you believe in scarcity, then that’s what you get. I don’t know why that is, but after fifty years of paying attention to people’s attitudes and watching how life unfolded for them, I know it to be true. So if you desire to be more generous, change your thinking and your attitude when it comes to abundance. Not only will it allow you to be more generous, but also it will change your life.

Give first, no matter what your circumstances may be.

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