The Good Life is not about what we get, but what we give. We’ve heard this kind of saying before and we know that being a generous person is probably a good thing. But we wonder if we have the capacity to be generous. We think to ourselves, “I might be a generous person if I had something extra to give. Maybe if I was a millionaire, or didn’t have such a busy schedule, then maybe I’d be able to give more.” If you’re unsure about how to be generous, you’re not alone. It is a growing edge for me, too. It has taken practice, some hard experiences, and good people to show me the way. But I’ve also learned something important about generosity: it’s the starting point to the Good Life. So much of what I need and want out of this life begins with a heart that’s turned towards others, with open hands and a creative imagination. It’s not always easy, but generosity is the way forward, always. I’ve since learned that there is more to generosity than just writing a cheque. The real goodness comes from how we give, even more than how much we give. In the Bible there’s so much said about the heart behind any generosity. It says, “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” I have learned that God is interested in how my inner life changes through the process of generosity. When I give, and learn to give out of gratitude and a deepening sense that my life is connected to God’s own generosity to me, then I change from the inside out. Giving is not meant to be a burden, but the way to new life. Our neighbourhoods are places where we can experiment with generosity. We can begin by sharing a meal, or work on a community project. We can allow kids to pick apples from our apple tree, or offer to help a young growing family with child care. This is a test-bed for a new life of generosity. Your community is the place where your generosity meets real needs, and where it will truly renew your own life. While giving to a national charity is good and should continue, giving to your neighbour is part of a very local and ongoing relationship. Done with delight, neighbourhood generosity can been deeply transformative. My friend Mark Peterson wrote a book, “Love Giving Well.” He says, “Most of us who have any potential in giving have plenty to live on. It is much easier to hold back and remain from giving, or to give but not to engage. But a decision to hold back is a choice that impoverishes all of us. Giving means letting go with great generosity.” May you discover the joy of letting giving, of letting go with great generosity, in this season of your life. May you discover the ways that your neighbourhood is a place where you can live generously with those around you. You matter to your community and as you share with open hands, may your own heart open to the new hope and the new life that generosity brings.