Written By Jenna Kubiak , USA
The morning breeze mercilessly blew above the walls and enveloped any brave soul standing in its path on a frigid, December morning at dawn’s break. Woolen parkas, hats, sweatpants, mittens, and fur-lined boots obscured our frail figures as my coworker McKenna and I kept our eyes glued on the swimmers gliding through the water.
The frigid atmosphere instantly changed a few minutes later. Out of the blue, a regular swimmer, Andrew, walked up to us with two cups filled to the brim with hot, sweet, soul-satisfying cocoa—a gesture of simple and pure generosity.
Surprised, we quickly thanked him for his kind gesture.
As a lifeguard, I’m used to being in the background. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning or Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I set up my chair, grab my rescue tube and waist pack, and supervise swimmers coming to the pool for their morning laps or family weekend trip. The majority of people don’t give me a second thought. I’m part of the scenery.
Andrew––a lean built gentleman of medium height in his 30s, with wire rimmed glasses and fine-cut dark hair––always arrived on the dot at 6:30 a.m., every Tuesday and Thursday. I was stunned the first time Andrew talked to me, because I had come to accept the idea that people don’t notice lifeguards. He asked us how our day was, how difficult our semesters were, and even remembered little details like our majors and grades. He was genuinely interested in our lives, made us feel like we mattered, and helped us understand that patrons valued our presence.
This man’s generosity left a mark on both McKenna and me. Andrew could have saved his hard-earned five or so dollars he spent on our drinks, yet he chose bless us, without seeking anything in return for his kindness. Through Andrew’s selfless act, we realized blessings aren’t necessarily extravagant. And I believe that God can multiply one act of generosity, and those who offer even small gifts will ultimately grow richer than anyone concerned solely about themselves. Proverbs 11:24-25 best describes the value of generosity: “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
In a way, Andrew’s display of generosity gave me a glimpse of God’s generosity. Just as Andrew had clearly went out of his way to bless my friend and I and expected nothing in return, God shows us kindness unconditionally.
God’s generosity towards humanity is best seen in the gift of the life of His only son, Jesus Christ—the ultimate sacrifice that enabled mankind to enjoy a relationship with our perfect, heavenly Father. 2 Corinthians 8:9 describes Jesus’ generous gift of grace, about how He became poor so we could become rich in God’s kingdom.
And even when we turn away from God and try to accomplish things on our own, He forgives all of our sins and constantly pours out mercy. His everlasting love is so great that He accepts even the lowliest in society into His eternal kingdom if they call Him their Savior.
I have personally seen God’s generosity manifest in my life through the ways He constantly provides for all my needs. He gave me additional scholarship money and ensured I had the finances to continue studying at Biola University. He also provided numerous opportunities for me to gain journalism experience and develop writing abilities that enabled me to tell others’ stories and give a voice to the voiceless. Furthermore, He blessed me with a great family and friends who continued supporting me even when they were facing their own struggles.
We do not deserve any of the wonderful blessings the Lord pours out, yet He continues showering His love on us. Each time I recall the act of generosity Andrew showed McKenna and me on that fateful December day, I remember God’s generosity. This brief yet memorable moment inspires me to intentionally bless others and look for ways to put their needs before my own. It is truly “more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).