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The Payoffs of Generous Living

Some ailments are easier to cure than others.

For example, a flu shot makes you less likely to sniff, sneeze and wheeze your way through the winter months. And even if you skip the shot, prescription medicines can still give you some relief from the seasonal crud.

But some sicknesses run deeper than a fever and chills and tear at the fabric of society. One of the worst is plain, old-fashioned selfishness. It’s a disease running rampant in our culture—and, too often, in our churches.

So, what’s the cure?

In The Legacy Journey, Dave Ramsey says there’s really only one way to heal a selfish and greedy spirit: generosity.

“Giving is the antidote for selfishness,” he says. “It’s the hallmark character quality of those who win with money.”

One of generosity’s biggest payoffs is something you may not expect: contentment. Givers are content because they know that stuff won’t make them happy. They recognize that they have enough for themselves and enough to share. In our chaotic, gotta-have-it world, genuine peace and contentment shine like a lighthouse.

Dave says contentment isn’t a destination—it’s a manner of travel. It’s your attitude and spirit while walking through life. Can you own nice stuff? Sure! But contentment allows you to own nice stuff without your nice stuff owning you.

For people of faith, contentment and generosity acknowledge God’s ownership and reflect His nature as a giver. The alternative is an ugly, unfulfilling attitude.

“People who are greedy stunt their creativity and their zest for life,” Dave says. “Their energy level goes down because they’re all about holding on to stuff instead of having an openness from generosity.”

During Baby Steps 1–3, when you’re focused on getting out of debt and building an emergency fund, your giving might look like tithes to a local church or charity with occasional extra gifts. When you break through to Baby Steps 4–6, you can start thinking more about generously investing in others. And by the time you hit Baby Step 7, you can go nuts with generosity!

That’s why Dave always says, “If you live like no one else, later you can live—and give—like no one else.” That’s the goal!

God can and will use your giving to change the world, and that’s great! But the first life that giving will change will be your own.