Generosity – Concept, importance, examples and phrases

We explain what generosity is, its importance, examples and meaning in the Bible. Also, phrases about generosity.

Generosity is benefiting another without expecting something in return.

What is generosity?

When we speak of generosity, in general terms, we mean the ability to give without receiving anything in return. This can refer to different types of resources: personal time, attention, money, effort, in short, anything that is granted for the benefit of another, but without any gain for the person who grants it.

In the vast majority of cultures generosity is considered a virtue or a desirable trait, especially in situations of fragility or lack of protection for the recipient. However, it is often debated what their limits are with respect to other virtues such as charity, and whether the generous person must necessarily have pure intentions or whether they can yearn for some recognition in return.

Furthermore, this sense of the word generous is quite recent in the history of the language. Until the 18th century, when it began to be used, the term generosity alluded to nobility and bravery, linked to the “good race” or good origin.

In fact, the word comes from Latin genus (“Birth” or “procreation”), from which the terms people and genuine also come. However, there is the possibility that it was the nobles (who held power during Antiquity and the Middle Ages) who could act in a detached way and without expecting nothing more in return than the admiration of their subjects. Thus, both terms were linked from now on.

Importance of generosity

Generosity is a highly praised trait today, especially when it is about helping those who are in distress situations, such as those affected by natural disasters or large-scale conflicts.

It is regarded as a redistributive virtue, that is, as the ability to share one’s wealth with the less fortunate, and there are numerous institutions that appeal to it to request donations, aid and joint efforts on behalf of the poor.

Examples of generosity

generosity examples
There are numerous institutions that appeal to generosity.

Possible examples of generous behavior are:

  • Donate blood in a public hospital.
  • Contribute with organizations promotion of education and the fight against poverty.
  • Pay time and attention to a stranger who needs it.
  • Share lunch with a partner who has nothing to eat.

Biblical meaning of generosity

In the Bible, generosity is personified by Jehovah himself, that is, by God. His generosity is such that he gave life to what exists and human beings gave them their primacy over creation: “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from Him, even gifts as intangible as wisdom” (Jas 1: 5 , 17).

This benevolent aspect, however, can often conflict with the vengeful and severe character of the Old Testament God, and in many cases it is encouraged among Christians:

“You must not harden your heart or be like a fist towards your poor brother. Because you must open your hand generously to him (…) Without fail, you must give him — and your heart should not be mean to give him— (…) That is why I am commanding you, saying: ‘You must open your hand generously to your afflicted and poor brother in your land. ‘. ” (Deut 15: 7-11).

Phrases about generosity

Some famous phrases about generosity are the following:

  • “For generous souls all tasks are noble” – Euripides.
  • “It is in giving that we receive” – ​​Saint Francis of Assisi.
  • “Where there is no love, put love and you will find love” – ​​San Juan de la Cruz.
  • “When I give, I give myself” – Walt Whitman.
  • “Generosity does not consist in giving me something that I need more than you, but in giving me something that you need more than I do” – Khalil Gibrán.
  • “For me, true generosity is like this: you give your all and always feel as if it cost you nothing” – Simone de Beauvoir.
  • “Who gives will know ingratitude, but also the emotion of giving” – José Narosky.