by Becca Christensen
The book “I Like Giving” , came to me by way of a review copy. I was unprepared for the affect the stories would have on me. I rode a plane from Tampa to Indianapolis, with tears streaming down my face as I read story after story of people’s incredible, life-changing generosity. Formsma opens the book with the story of a woman on welfare who is surprised with a Thanksgiving meal, a day she and her kids otherwise would have gone hungry. Later in that same story, 7 years later, she’s off welfare and working as a nurse when she meets the woman who provided that meal (she’s one of her patients). That meal motivated her to give any way she could even while she was in need and to increase that giving when she was back on her feet. Wow.
What stood out to be about Formsma’s creation of Ilivinggiving.com is that he desired to be generous but he was sick of just responding to everyone’s requests for money. He wanted to give to causes he was passionate about and he wanted to live his life seeking out opportunities to give. The website shares those stories but it does not ask for your money. The concept of both the book and the website is for you to give to the causes and people you care about that are already in your life.
I’m twenty-eight. I’m not married. I own a home. I’ve got a lot of expenses and things on my plate. Sometimes I get caught up in that and I don’t feel like I can give. To that Formsma writes, ‘Watch out for these nasty four-letter words: debt, fear, and busy. They steal joy with the greatest of ease. Be aware of them as they compete with the nudge to do for others’.
A few chapters later I underlined this from Michael’s story, ‘I look for ways to live my life as a gift to others however I can’. This followed the statement that he’s not in a place financially to give away a lot of money. He went on to say what he can give is his time and his talent. Hey, I can do that too! In fact, so can you. Everyone brings something to the generosity table and that was a great reminder for me.
Matt’s story (page 169) hit home when he wrote, ‘It was as if the act of giving had opened me up to realize all the ways I am blessed’. Yes. When I give, when I live generously, I am reminded of how richly the Lord has blessed my life and how much I have. It takes the focus off what I don’t have and reminds to be grateful for what I do. I love that about giving.
So whether you help someone move, buy a homeless person a coffee, donate money to worthy causes, or take time to call someone who’s having a bad day – give. Give because it is more blessed to give than to receive. Give so that others will pay it forward. Give because you can’t take it with you anyway. Then bask in the joy that giving brings you and make note of the blessing that you feel from it as a result. God loves a cheerful giver.
I highly recommend “I Like Giving”. It will inspire and challenge you in equal measure. You will nod your head in agreement and you may cry tears of awe and inspiration from the stories you read. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Have you read any good books lately? Share your comments below!
Becca Christensen works at Grace Family Church as a Ministry Assistant. She loves to travel, entertain, read, spend time with family, and root on the Indianapolis Colts. In addition to contributing to the Beautiful Blog, Becca leads a table at Beautiful Monday Nights. You can read more about Becca on her blog, www.beccachristensen.wordpress.com.