New words get introduced into the English language all of the time. The Oxford English Dictionary adds hundreds of words each year including these recent additions: fam, prepper, swole, nothingburger and hangry. People have invented new words forever; this includes Shakespeare who invented over 2,000 words like zany, swagger and lackluster. I’m no Shakespeare, but I would like to introduce one more new word to the English language this year—thanksgenerous.
My one word for this year is “generous,” and it has been amazing to reflect on how God used this word to change the way I see and do things. I have been looking through the lens of generous in all dimensions of my life including physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, relational, and of course, financial. When most people find out my one word is “generous,” they immediately thrust out their hand as if I will generously give them cash. Usually, I give them a five… a high five!
A few weeks ago as I prepared myself for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, I started to wonder how to see it through a generous lens. Then it hit me. I don’t want to be someone who is just giving thanks. I want to be someone who is generous in thanks. Anyone can give thanks. That is almost expected nowadays. People don’t expect you to be abundant in generosity.
There is a big difference between giving and generous.
Giving is good. Generous is best.
Giving is duty. Generous is delight.
Giving is simple. Generous is hard.
Giving is first-mile. Generous is second-mile.
Giving is predictable. Generous is unexpected.
Giving is spontaneous. Generous is strategic.
Giving is openhanded. Generous is bighearted.
Giving is ordinary. Generous is extraordinary.
Giving is just enough. Generous is overflowing.
Giving is typical. Generous is extravagant.
Giving is moderate. Generous is extreme.
Giving is costly. Generous is sacrificial.
Giving is stable. Generous is radical.
In Colossians 2:6-7, Paul shares what thanksgenerous is all about: Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with thankfulness. Thankfulness overflows if we grow deep roots in Jesus Christ and build our lives on Him. Is it any wonder why thankfulness is in short supply? If we are over-full with God, then we overflow with thanks. If we are not full of God, we are selfish and stingy. Unfortunately, we see this a lot, and especially in places that should be filled with a culture of gratitude: families, businesses, churches and teams.
So here is my attempt at inventing my first word and defining it.
a strategic act of abundant generosity that is unexpected bringing wonder and blessing
an extravagant outpouring of thanks to God and others
Let’s move from thanksgiving to thanksgenerous. Let’s upgrade from Thanksgiving 1.0 to Thanksgenerous 2.0. Below is something I wrote about being a Thanksgenerous Leader.
The Thanksgenerous Leader
As a thanksgenerous leader, you are extravagant in pouring out thanks to God and others.
Your heart is overflowing with thankfulness because you are abundantly grateful of God’s blessings.
You have a deep conviction that your gifts, talents and skills to serve and lead come from God alone.
You realize that every interaction, appointment and conversation is a response to God’s goodness and the way you lead is marked with, “Thank you God!”
You are simply grateful for the gift to lead.
Your service and sacrifice are offerings of thanks to God.
There is no room for pride in a heart full of gratitude–a thankful leader is a humble leader.
You don’t try to impress others when you are thankful that God is making an impact through you.
You don’t care if you are at the top or not when you are overwhelmed with gratitude by simply being able to lead.
You don’t put unrealistic expectations on others when you realize God’s grace on your life.
You don’t care about being better than, or above others, when your definition of success is becoming more like Jesus every day.
You are not consumed with what others think of you when you are overcome with the fact that God is your Audience of One.
You don’t demand attention when your attention is on others.
You don’t hide your weaknesses when you know that when you are weak, God is strong.
You don’t criticize others when you believe the best about them.
You don’t look at others as worthless when you are thankful that God has wonderfully made them.
You don’t have to please others when you already feel God’s pleasure when you lead.
You don’t seek glory and recognition when your goal is to glorify the One who made you.
You don’t have to impress others when you are leading with all of your heart as for the Lord.
With a grateful heart, much can be accomplished.
Let the power of generosity change the way you lead.
A great leader is a thanksgenerous leader.