Manual for Teachers: Characteristic: 4.VII. Generosity
1. “The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God.” It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God’s teachers this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust no one can be generous in the true sense.
In the world, generosity means “giving away” in the sense of “giving up.” To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep. To the teachers of God, to give is to receive!
This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world’s thinking. In the clearest way possible, and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teacher of God than to the world.
2. “The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest.” This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain.
Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep, because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God, and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.
Everyone feels the impulse to give, but there appear to be costs involved. If we give too much, there will be nothing left for ourselves. Our giving is therefore constricted by a sense of caution, and overseen by a careful gauging of what we can afford.
Granted, our idea of what we can afford often translates as what will not cut into our ability to accumulate at the rate we prefer. In this mind set, our gifts become investments. Loans that we intend to call in at the appropriate time.
The teacher of God has left this mind set completely behind. His generosity has an extravagance to it, a lack of caution that we onlookers find both inspiring and unsettling. He might offer the shirt off his back to a “complete stranger,” or even to an “attacker.” The reason is that he instinctively perceives giving as the way in which he himself gains, and sees keeping things for himself as a sure road to loss.
As a result, his criterion for acquiring something is: “Can I give it away?” If not, he has no use for it. He can no longer even understand how something that is for him alone could have value. After all, every visible gift he gives – whether it be of his time or money or skills or possessions – is really just the wrapping for the gift of love. The more he gives this gift, the more its radiance grows brighter within him. It is no wonder, then, that he associates giving with gain. The more love he gives, the more love he has, and the closer he comes to remembering GOD IS.
MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
- Generosity rests on trust. Without trust no one can be generous in the true sense.
- In the world, generosity means “giving away” in the sense of “giving up” or “relinquishing.” To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep. Giving is receiving.
- “The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest.” This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. It does not refer to the ego at all, but to the truth of the Son of God.
- The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. If you cannot give it, then you cannot receive it, because giving IS receiving.
- The teacher of God does want to keep for himself all things that are of God, and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. And these he can give away in true generosity, as they forever increase as they are shared. Happiness, for example, grows as it is shared. Peace, Joy, and ideas of God, all increase by sharing. By giving them away, the teacher of God forever protects them for himself, for in the giving, he demonstrates that he must have them to give them and to share them.
- God is the giver and the gift. So everything the teacher of God gives, whether it be his time, money, skills or possessions, is really just the wrapping for the gift of love. It is really a symbol of the love he has for the Father, and the Father for him.
- Give only love (in whatever state of form or formlessness, visible or invisible), then, for love is what you are. And what greater gift can you give or receive, than to give and receive your Self.