A Generous Person

Her name is Margarita. She is Cuban-American, and I am invited to her 85th birthday open house at a local nursing home facility. I have met her in person only once before this event. Shortly after I arrive, our eyes meet. With an expression of delight that animates her from head to toe, Margarita gives me a friendly wave and approaches me in her motorized chair. After a warm embrace, Margarita looks me over and offers a gracious compliment. When I wish her a happy birthday, she responds with an incredulous, “Eighty-five! Can you believe it?” and giggles in delight.  

Margarita grabs my hand and continues her commentary on life. She expresses love and appreciation for her accommodations, her caregivers, and her Savior. I sense that her heart is a well-watered garden that provides a place for beautiful things to grow. She does not resent being transplanted. Instead, she delights in her Abba’s provision. Margarita explains, “Every morning I recite, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, the Lord is my shepherd.’ And it’s true! Some days I wake up feeling great; some days I wake up feeling off. But every morning I declare, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’” I squeeze her hand and declare, “Yes! Every day, God is so kind.” And my spirit is refreshed.

Margarita exemplifies this proverb: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Prov. 11:25).

The word “generous” (the Hebrew word “bᵊrāḵâ”) in this proverb is most often translated as “blessing” in other verses. The source of all generosity is God Himself, who declared to Abraham, “I will bless you . . . you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). I am convinced that God is the source of every gracious word spoken by Margarita. Love simply bubbles out of her from a very deep place in her spirit.  

The word “refreshes” (the Hebrew word “rāvâ”) connotes a sense of being satiated or completely satisfied. Margarita’s enthusiastic welcome, her Spirit-filled words, and her tender insistence on holding my hand throughout our conversation filled me with joy as we mutually celebrated our Abba’s kindness and faithfulness. The same Hebrew word is used here: “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights” (Ps. 36:8). I truly felt like I was drinking deeply from God’s river of delights alongside Margarita!

Finally, the phrase “be refreshed” (the Hebrew word “yārâ”) carries the idea of being taught. The same Hebrew word is used here: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Ps. 32:8). Margarita’s demeanor and her effusive testimony of God’s goodness to her is evidence that our Father is faithful to refresh us through His Word and His presence. The source of Margarita’s joy was certain.

Do you know a generous person? Take a moment this week to express your thanks to her. Schedule time together if possible.

Are you a generous person? We can all increase our generosity through receiving from God all that we need. Ask God to instruct, teach, and counsel you. Allow God to rearrange your schedule and priorities. From God’s abundance we can all bubble over with joy, gratitude, and grace—just like Margarita.

Jen Vogel

Jen served as national director for Alliance Women from 2015-2023; she serves in a variety of ministry capacities, including on the President's Cabinet for The Alliance. She enjoys reading, travel, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle daily. Jen and her husband, Doug, attend Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa.

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