Anthony: “Hey Babe, I wanted to let you know that [our very good friend] is coming over to do a few loads of laundry.”
Malisa: “Are they bringing their own laundry soap?”
A: “No, I told them they could use ours.”
M: [snappy tone] "Ok.”
Later that night, Anthony and I talked about this phone exchange. Essentially, Anthony said he was surprised by my hesitation to give the friend some of our laundry soap. I explained that it was an expensive brand and I didn’t want to have to buy more. It was already "generous enough” to allow the friend to use our electricity, machines, and water.
A: “Really? You are worried about 50 cents of soap?”
M: “Yes, I am!”
A: “You are willing to spend 3 hours in the kitchen making a meal, knit baby blankets, give whatever else, but you don’t want to give the soap that you used a coupon to buy? That makes absolutely zero sense.”
After a continued discussion, I finally realized I am okay with generosity so long as I get the accolades I want from it. For example, bringing a handmade gift to a baby shower warrants lots of attention (the ooh’s and ah’s) over the gift I have labored to make. Bringing a meal to a friend results in a similar response. Giving someone laundry detergent, not so much.
I learned that the definition of generosity is to be liberal in giving or sharing without getting anything in return. But I like to be generous when it makes me look good. How is this generosity at all? It's not... It is giving with major strings attached and expecting a reaction or response. I'm working on it.
And that’s the story of laundry detergent and generosity.
The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped - Proverbs 11:24-25 (Message version)