I am sometimes asked about the notion of following our heart’s desire to create a Generosity Gameplan. It seems self-centered and selfish to some people, since we’ve heard of a heart’s desire when referring to a physical longing like a new car or piece of property. But for men and women of faith, N.T. Wright in his book After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters helps us understand our heart’s desire when he says, “What are we here for in the first place? The fundamental answer… is that what we’re ‘here for’ is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we’re made, and doing so in worship on the one hand and in mission, in its full and large sense, on the other…” I’ve taken this a little out of context because Wright focuses on a relationship with Jesus, but hang with me here because the sense of mission is what I want to focus on.
I believe a sense of mission is hardwired in us regardless of our faith journey. When we can draw on this desire and build a generous life around it our character transforms. With this transformation of character we will still follow the rules of the charitable world- making contributions and volunteering, but we do so as genuine human beings focused on the change we are called to make in the world versus reacting to the loudest or most enthusiastic voice. When we live a generous life like this it feels authentic, and again as N.T. Wright says about the authentic faith life, “…but only when, with that transformed character fully operative (like an airline pilot with a lifetime’s experience), the hard work up front bears fruit in spontaneous decisions and actions that reflect what has been formed deep within.”
In my words, doing the hard work first of getting clear about our heart’s desire is transformative and resulted in better relationships, gratifying acts of service and effective giving.
I wonder, are you reacting to volunteering and giving opportunities, or are you clear of your heart’s desire for change in the world?