I wasn’t going to write but I started thinking about this fortune cookie I got…

“You are extremely generous and always thinking of others.”

What exactly is generosity? How do you know if you’re being generous or thoughtful? Are you generous because you do something for someone else? What if you didn’t want to do it but you had to? Is it still an act of generosity? Or is it only an act of generosity if you did it selflessly or if the person you helped is thankful?

According to, generosity is “liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish.” No mention of wanting to be generous or having a desire to give or share unselfishly. No mention of being appreciated for being generous either. It also doesn’t stipulate what you have to give in order to be generous. You could give money, donate things you own, or you could give your time. Maybe just being there for someone or taking the time to listen to someone could be considered an act of generosity.

While thinking I was immediately reminded of the widow’s mites story from The Holy Bible, in the New Testament.

Luke 21:1-4
(1) And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
(2) And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
(3) And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
(4) For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

Maybe it’s all about intentions. She gave all she had. That has to be unselfishness in it’s purest form. Especially if you are poor and don’t have much to give in the first place.

Sometimes I wonder if all my acts of both generosity and selfishness cancel each other out.


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