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Reservoirs and Rivers

Oct 28, 2015 at 11:17 AM

reservoirs and rivers - generosity gameplanI got to visit with my friend Sharon this week during one of her breaks from a conference for pastors. Making connections is in Sharon’s DNA, and she was eager to introduce me to Dr. Gary Hoag, the Generosity Monk. Gary was also presenting at this meeting. The three of us share a passion for generosity, and Sharon expected us to chat about that. But when Gary walked up to the table he noticed my fly fishing themed cap. As Sharon rolled her eyes, Gary and I talked fishing.

We did eventually get around to talking about generosity, exchanged books, and pledged to reconnect for a deeper conversation. But on the way home it occurred to me that Gary has a good point when using water as a metaphor for generosity. A reservoir is highly controlled and counts on rain and runoff, while a river flowing freely is constantly recharged with life giving springs. Gary challenges us to consider this question. Do our acts of generosity flow freely, reflecting the many blessings we have received, or are they measured and held for another day?

I wonder, in what ways have you been blessed and how does that effect your generosity?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.


Read my book, Connected for Good: A Gameplan for a Generous Life, for thoughtful reflections on generosity that may help you identify whether your generous acts flow freely like a river or if they’re measured and stored like a reservoir.

6 responses to “Reservoirs and Rivers”

  1. Rev. Victor Kollmann says:

    I got to meet Gary Hoag in person. We had him as a speaker at one of our Synodical Stewardship Leadership Conferences. I love the analogy. Our stewardship is so much more genuine and satisfying when it flows freely. God bless you!

  2. In response to your question, it is my sense that generosity can be both a reservoir and a river depending on whether we subscribe to a abundance mentality or one of scarcity. There are times in ones life that one is view is more dominant and, dare I say, more appropriate than the other. Ultimately, however, as some of us are blessed with the wisdom of simplicity, we begin to recognize that all the water we really need is enough to quench our thirst. And sometimes the smallest mountain stream can be the most refreshing and healthful of all.

  3. We have been blessed with a way to help couples rebound from difficulties in their marriage and go on to live joy-filled marriages. We have been so generous in sharing this info, through our ministry/non-profit, but the struggle is getting those who have the means, to support our efforts. Even those we help during the time of difficulty ignore us once the marriage is healed.

  4. Tom Curl says:

    Excellent connection here between water and generosity, John. For the river analogy to work, it seems to me that you need to view some of the springs that feed the river as being made up of new financial income and other springs being made up of the emotional income that comes to a grateful, humble heart that is focused on helping others.

  5. Paul Tomaso says:

    If our generosity flows freely from the river of life within us,, then there is absolutely no chance that it will ever run dry or that we will cease in generosity. That river is flowing with life giving water and only in bringing drink to the thirsty can we truly appreciate its magnitude or feel its current. Another thought that “flows” from this idea is that the more we freely pour ourselves out in generosity to others, the wealthier we become. Life giving water is always flowing and never stagnant. Stagnant watereventually becomes lifeless.

  6. Generosity as a river fits very well with what we know. The more you give, somehow, the more you have to give.

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