I had flown to the East Coast to visit a friend for the weekend, and as she and I were leaving her house for a trip to the Shore, her husband said to her, “Don’t be cheap.” Of all the adjectives I might ascribe to this friend, cheap is not one of them. She is one of the most generous people I know. Already on this visit, she had gifted me with a box of chocolates, a sweater and a poncho.
To be fair, her husband is perhaps even more generous than she. I remember once when she and I were going out to dinner and he was meeting up with friends. We all ended up at the same restaurant, and he put his credit card on our table and said, “Order whatever you want. This is on me.”
I sometimes wonder if this is their competition—to see who can be the most generous. There are worse couple-competitions, and I am often the happy recipient of their big-heartedness, so I am not complaining.
Anyway, his comment came back to me a few days later after I had flown home and was on the parking shuttle. I had meant to get change for a tip for the shuttle driver but had forgotten. Normally, I would give a $3-$5 tip (which I think is the going rate), but a $10 bill was the smallest denomination I had. My interior conversation went something like this, “Ugh, I forgot to get change. Well, that’s on me; this will be an early Christmas gift for the driver,” and I decided to give him the $10 bill.
Just then, the man across from me said to his companion, “A $5 bill is the smallest thing I have for a tip.” His companion reached into her wallet and pulled out two singles.
“Don’t be cheap,” I wanted to say, but didn’t.
I know there are times when I can be cheap, when I act out of a sense of scarcity instead of abundance. I often catch myself after, but by then it is too late.
I shared this lesson with my spiritual director, and she suggested I expand my understanding of the admonition “don’t be cheap” to all the talents and gifts God has given to me freely and abundantly.
I am deeply grateful for all the many good things in my life; my life is rich beyond anything I could ever have asked or imagined.
The admonition “don’t be cheap” will hopefully be a reminder to catch myself when I am tempted toward living out of scarcity and fear—financial or otherwise—so that I can instead live out of abundance and generosity.
I have found myself at times in this same situation, my dinner company will look at what I left for a tip Pam did you get my message regarding the plants??
I got the plant message–interesting that they will send.
I recently gave a tip to a flower delivery person and she asked, “Why are you giving me this?” I said, “You just brought me beautiful flowers.” I wonder if people don’t generally tip delivery people.
I love the admonition to not be cheap with your talents. I wonder what that would look like.
Interesting question. I think each of us could do an inventory of our talents and review how/where we are using them. You, for example, are so generous with your knitting talent.
This is a nice encouragement to be generous when giving to others. I have noticed when we tip more than the usual or expected amount, the recipient is really happy. And this makes me feel good, too!
I agree, Betty And it does not have to be a lot, but giving generously is appreciated.