The Ethics of Giving: Generosity? The Virtue of Giving, Not Taking

Published February 3, 2020 by SMBC

By Greg Funderburk, Minister of Pastoral Care

Greek philosophers like Aristotle wrote of the idea of a virtuous life, using the word, Eudaimonia, translated as living well or flourishing. Living a virtuous life, Aristotle argued, led to flourishing in human beings. Generosity is one of the virtues which these philosophers, and now, modern social scientists, as well, tell us contribute to such thriving, this sense of well-being.

A virtue like generosity is not just a one-time act, or even just a tendency, but rather a disposition that's well-entrenched by habit and regularity. Developing the virtue of generosity, resulting in this feeling of flourishing, probably depends less on the initial quantity of the giving and more on developing the habit of giving.

This February in what we call our Stewardship Campaign, we?re seeking to elicit commitments from each other by which we not only ensure we can do all the mission and ministry work envisioned in our church's plans as reflected in our recently adopted 2020 budget, but more importantly, nurture in each other, the habit of giving, and thus the virtue of generosity.

The first step to acquiring this virtue requires an awareness of your own freedom. That is, you can choose to give or refrain from giving. Because each regular attender of this church regularly receives the benefits of worship, the value of fellowship, and the blessings of partaking in the mission and ministries South Main offers, this February, consider these notions of giving versus taking, and of choosing, in your freedom, to develop the virtue of generosity which leads to an internal sense of well-being.