View Full Version : Bon Vivant Giving and Generosity

07-25-2011, 09:06 PM
Part of "Bon Vivant" that excites me is blessing other people generously as I live a life of ever-increasing abundance. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world the first time I got to treat my grandfather for dinner (he ALWAYS bought for EVERYONE). I thought it was cool when I left my first $100 tip to a great waitress in need. I love being able to bless families during the Holidays and help missionaries go on trips. I've adopted a few kids through Compassion International and am watching them grow and develop... I look forward to adopting kids into my own home one day....

What are your strategies for "Bon Vivant" giving and generosity? I'd love to hear them and some stories.

One of the things I'm committing to do is give away 1% more of my gross income every year. I started at 23 with 10%, so when I'm 43 I'll be giving away 30%, and at 73 I'll be giving away 60% of my gross income. Each year I've done this (5 years now), I've always made more money than the last, outgrown my giving, and have increased my net worth every year... it's great!

So please, share your strategies and thoughts!

07-25-2011, 09:18 PM
My girlfriend's parents go out around Christmas time and when they are in line at the grocery store they slip the clerk two hundred dollar bills to pay for the person behind them. With some planning you can always get someone with a kid or two, then you watch from afar when the clerk gives them change for the food instead of asking for payment! It is a classic good deed. Over tipping the wait staff is always a good one too...it is a hard job, and an extra 20 just flat makes their night.

07-25-2011, 09:22 PM
When I was a young lad from a not-well-off-family, a very wealthy and powerful man gave me a free ride, all-expenses-paid, to a boarding prep school for the elites. This changed my life, I managed to leverage this into an Ivy League education, and then some very successful jobs. I've spoken to this fellow many times since, and he has explained that he thought it was his duty, as a steward of his wealth, to deploy it efficiently to improve everyone's lot.

My university's unofficial motto was "XXXX in the nation's service", and there was a strong culture of developing yourself for success, so that you could give something back. This really resonated with me, for whatever reason.

One of my main motivations for success, other than personal rewards, and inventing great new things, was being able to have the freedom to help others, and to accomplish things on a private scale without government intervention.

I retired from corporate life quite early, as did my wife, and we now devote 50%+ of our working hours, and the majority of our income, to "philanthropic" causes. Not just giving away funds for operational needs, though that is often important, but projects that teach people to fish, that educate people, that enable them to better themselves and contribute more to our shared community.

I find this an incredibly rewarding profession, though admittedly the pay is a bit lower :-) I think I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do this.

Maimonides, in the Mishneh Torah (Chapter 10:7-14) , lays out an approach to charity which I find helpful:

Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
Giving tzedakah before being asked.
Giving adequately after being asked.
Giving willingly, but inadequately.
Giving "in sadness"

07-25-2011, 09:35 PM
Well, I'm a youngun and haven't really hit my success yet so mostly what I give right now is my time. I volunteer with give an hour, make rosaries, make care packages, collect books for those in homes, hospitals, or overseas. I'm working on certifying my therapy dog and plan to share her with the world too. A lot of my giving goes towards the troops because they are so dear to me but it's not limited to them. I will occasionally do what Winchester stated, but with a coffee or a meal or something.
I find that a lot of what many people are lacking is just a compassionate ear- I like to listen, so that's generally what I offer. For some reason people I guess can sense that about me, because I'm often in line or an elevator listening to life stories.

Sometimes I feel a little selfish, becuase I get so much out of the giving. :mellow:

I like this thread. It's easy to get a little jaded because many of these things are done quietly, which is as it should be, but it's nice to be reassured that the good things are still there.

07-25-2011, 09:55 PM
The mention of the loans reminded me...on five different occasions I have taken payments for cars from people that needed a boost. All on a handshake...I sign the title over because if it it titled to me and they get into an accident without enough insurance I could be on the hook. Which also means I would have little recourse if they didn't pay. Burned once, the second time I tried it, but it really made a difference for the others. I like to help people. I don't like it when the Gub'ment takes my money to disburse as they see fit, but I do like to do it myself.

Gabriel Suarez
07-25-2011, 10:58 PM
I hesitate to tell stories since we don;t want to be like the rich Pharisee telling the Lord how cool he is. I am open to the Incoming from the Holy Spirit however, and when a need crosses my path, I have a way of looking up.......

The message is usually something, "I have blessed you, now what are YOU going to do with it?"

07-29-2011, 09:39 AM
I hesitate to tell stories since we don;t want to be like the rich Pharisee telling the Lord how cool he is. I am open to the Incoming from the Holy Spirit however, and when a need crosses my path, I have a way of looking up.......

The message is usually something, "I have blessed you, now what are YOU going to do with it?"

Bingo... spot on target.

We are just stewards and nothing is really ours in the first place. But what we do have is a chance to grow what God has given us and see the abundance of God bless our lives because of it.

FYI... abundance does not always equal $$$. Quality life, wonderful marriage, respectful children, the list goes on... that is living in the Lord's abundance and His riches.

In His Service,

Texas Hill Country

07-29-2011, 10:39 AM
I believe the greatest joy in my life has been giving.

When it's done properly ( aka with prayerful consideration ) there are no doubts, concerns or second guesses - just pure joy. Such a fantastic blessing

Steve Paulson
07-30-2011, 03:51 PM
I used to make a lot, but gave up the nice paycheck when God said "ministry." Now I don't have much compared to many, but for the last year we invited a troubled young adult into our home & family, giving her a room of her own. She had grown up suffering every form of abuse, and we wanted to introduce her to a different kind of life--one with love in it. We watched her grow tremendously for a while, but sadly we've recently had to ask her to move out...she has legitimate needs that we cannot meet, given the environment we maintain in the home for the sake of our children. She needed more space, quiet and freedoms than we could provide. Her frustration began to be expressed in ways that were especially hurtful to my wife and increasingly dangerous for my children (we were able to shield their eyes from all of this, thank God). It wasn't sustainable for anyone, so I had to end it. There's been a lot of hurt, anger & frustration. Reconciliation is underway, and I'm praying that she will learn much in hindsight...what good, loving marriage & family can be about. We're learning a lot too. It never really felt like work...at least till the end when it was clear a change was needed. It felt like the house was full, but in a good way.

I'm blessed by you guys, who share a conviction that worldy wealth should be used to bless. My wife & I received a gift last week of such lavish proportions that it's impossible to express in words what it meant. An all expenses paid 5-day cruise on a private yacht around the San Juan islands. A retired 2-star general (former Chief of Chaplains) and his wife provide this to pastors of small churches (knowing that we don't get many 'perks') and others in full time ministry that need to "come away". To say that it was restful would be an egregious understatement. I was blessed far beyond my worth.

On behalf of those who are given to receive the gifts of those given to give them, thank you for being used by God in our lives.

Tom Cornelius
08-10-2011, 08:10 PM
TO whom much is given, much is expected.

No one gave me crap growing up. Tip more, give more, and be more than you were yesterday.

When you see that waiter or attendant busting their _ss for you, blow their mind with a tip that rocks their world.

08-10-2011, 08:48 PM
Gun gifts are something else...when I was 15, I spent a summer with a friends Grandfather. He was a former Sheriff and was shocked at my age the only pistol I owned was a .22 Ruger. He gave me a 4 inch .38 Special K frame .38 Special...it was an old WWII "Victory" Model...the action is so smooth I can't imagine it being an issue revolver. He removed the lanyard loop because it made it harder for me to hide. I still envision a guy at the Smith plant circa 1943, working on his break to smooth up the action because he knew one day his revolver would be called upon to save the life of a fellow American. I wish I knew the history of this one from the time it was made until it landed with me.

08-10-2011, 09:01 PM
One of the things I want to do most is adopt a couple of unwanted kids down the road and raise them up as conquerors.

I also firmly believe you should always be mentored and always be mentoring someone, no matter what your position in life. You've always got something to give and you've always got something to learn.

I'd like for people to use this thread to share their giving stories, what you've received that changed your life, goals that you have for blessing others in the future, etc...