You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:11 (NIV)

For several years I have chosen a word for the year. Many have come out of desperation such as my first word, HOPE. My life was so difficult that year with seemingly no way out. HOPE was my word to survive. Others have come as an outworking of the previous year’s word. I took a test for one. But this year, every devotion and many Bible verses pointed to the word, “generosity.”

Last year my word was “bloom”—in a pandemic. As I wrestled with it over the year, I realized that a seed has to be planted in the dark for it to grow. Letting it sit on the ground would have resulted in either a bird having it for dinner, or crushed by someone on a walk. The seed needed to be protected so that it could grow and eventually bloom. The rain would nourish it, the sun would encourage it to put out little roots and begin the journey to the light. A new year has begun and with it the promise of life and blooming as we begin to re-enter our world.

But generosity? I realize that I have pulled back due to the COVID rules and not been able to give of myself as before. Giving money is easy because I can do it online but I do sense a hesitancy because I don’t know what the future holds. Rick Warren wrote, “When you’re generous, it changes your perspective on what you actually need.” I know from this year in the dark place, I don’t need all that much.

But I miss the contact with family and friends — the hugs, the “let’s get together for coffee,” movies, dinner out, singing with the chorus, and so many special events. Zoom and FaceTime help a little but it’s not the same. Just because there is a new calendar on the wall doesn’t mean that life will return as we knew it before COVID, today or next month.

It didn’t escape my attention that the verse I chose is “9:11.” Twenty years ago our world was turned upside down, too. We wondered, as a nation, if there was more angst and horror to come. It’s different now but the unknown is still raging. We survived that crisis and we will survive this one, too. Why? Because God is in control.

So, I am going to choose to be generous this year with my time, my money, my encouragement, my love, my trust in almighty God. I want to be generous with what I have so that the love of God will bloom in me. It’s a new day every day and I’m going to be on the lookout for someone who is in need.

Every good and perfect gift comes from God—it’s all because of His generosity.