Generosity: The gift of time and presence

Time and presence is often the greatest gift we can give to people

It is very tempting when thinking about generosity to focus on money. Our minds seem to naturally gravitate towards financial giving as being the main expression of generosity. But while generosity undoubtedly includes giving away our money, it transcends that too. As I said in part one of this series:

Generosity is about giving of every dimension of ourselves for the benefit of others. Our whole lives can and should be our gift to the world.

In many ways, giving our money is the easiest way to be generous to somebody else. And the wealthier we are, the easier it is to choose this option and feel pretty good about ourselves. But as we also saw in part one, it was the poor widow who Jesus considered the most generous, and not the rich people who gave larger gifts.

So what are some other ways we can express generosity to people in need around us? It might not seem like much, but often our time and presence is the greatest gift we can give to those in need. Ask almost anyone about their childhood and they will tell you that time and not money was the most valuable gift they received from their parents. Again: money and providing for material needs is the easier — if still very important! — option.

Coming alongside people who are hurting can be such a powerful gift. We don’t have to always have solutions or fixes for people who are struggling and in need of support. Sometimes simply being with them is all they need. This is a challenge though because as will fill our lives with more and more activities, it becomes increasingly difficult to freely offer people the gift of time and presence.

That’s why living life as an Everyday Mystic is, at its heart, about living life at a sustainable pace that allows time and space for our own health and well-being so that, from that healthy place, we have plenty left over for others. Or, in the words of Jesus, ‘Love others as well as you love yourself’ (emphasis mine).

What lifestyle changes could you make to free up more time to give to others in need around you? Who could you give some time to this week?

Originally published at

NeuBible: A delighful new iPhone app

Generosity: Non-reciprocal giving