The Lifespan of Generosity

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donut seeds

The Return on a Seed

It was something simple. Just a few donuts to the night shift guy and they’d be on their way. “Thank you for working tonight – it’s tough when you’d rather be somewhere else but are scheduled to work. Did you get a free donut yet? We’re bringing a little bit of God’s love in a practical way.” 

How long does it take for generosity to go around the world? It turns out there’s a right answer – sometimes it takes as long as twenty years to migrate. 

“Wow. Thanks so much. This little donut is significant in my life more than you can know. The funny thing is some folks gave me a donut on Christmas Eve about twenty years ago in Cincinnati.” 

“Oh yeah. Who was that?” 

“A church called the Vineyard.” 

That story came to me from someone who did a Christmas Eve donut outreach in Kansas City. The man above was a guard at a hospital facility. 

Astounding! There are lots of lessons in that story that occurred a few weeks ago at Christmas. For one, generosity shown with the presence of the Spirit goes on and on apparently. 

This discovery flies in the face of someone who told me they’d done outreaches at Christmas for years. The problem, in his words, “No one we served stuck around the church. All of that effort and no fruit.” No one? Are you sure? I love my friend, but he’s using faulty math. 

What do we count? Seeds! 

We are seed flingers. Our job is to place seeds where they can grow. I can’t make a seed grow, but I have on competent authority that Someone else will do that part that we cannot do.  

How do we count? Seeds! 

Some of the best stuff God does is difficult to tally. There will never be an algorithm that will explain how many donuts were given away equate to a person beginning to follow Jesus. 

Why even count? 

God is keeping track of it all. He has his own outreach algorithm, and he is accurate. Our job? To scatter seeds – give away surf wax at the beach, or wash cars then give them a dollar for the privilege of serving them with a bit of God’s love. Maybe we even give away milk to go with the orbiting donuts.

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.