Generosity quotes

  • "At its best, giving is an act of worship." — Cornelius J. Dyck, colonel under the command of Gen. George Washington

  • "It is through generous giving, that we affirm before the world, our nation's faith in the inalienable right of every man, to a life of freedom, justice and security." — Harry S Truman, 33rd President of the United States

  • "A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit." — D. Elton Trueblood, American author, educator, philosopher and theologian

  • "There are many hearing me who now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart." — Robert Murray McCheyne, Scottish pastor1

  • "Once you make a lot of money, it's incredibly enjoyable to give it away. It's a way to satisfy the soul." — Stanley Druckenmiller, U.S. hedge fund manager2

  • "What is the chief end of giving? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." — Dennis Bakke, businessman3

  • "All knowledge is sterile which does not lead to action and end in charity." — Désiré-Joseph Cardinal Mercier, Belgian church leader

  • "If a thief helps a poor man out of the spoils of his thieving, we must not call that charity." — Dante Alighieri, Italian poet

  • "When it comes to giving until it hurts, most people have a very low threshold of pain." — Anonymous

  • "Seek joy in what you give not in what you get." — Anonymous

  • "Real charity doesn't care if it's tax deductible or not." — Anonymous

  • "The Dead Sea is the dead sea because it continually receives and never gives." — Anonymous

  • "Thank the Lord that you can give instead of depending on others to give to you." — Anonymous

  • "Charity begins at home and generally dies from lack of outdoor exercise." — Anonymous

  • "Of all the varieties of virtue, liberality is the most beloved." — Aristotle, Greek philosopher

  • "Not to give to those in need what is to you superfluous is akin to fraud." — Augustine of Hippo, early Church father

  • "Do not give, as many rich men do, like a hen that lays her eggs...and then cackles." — Henry Ward Beecher, American abolitionist and clergyman

  • "A man should fear when he enjoys only the good he does publicly. Is it not, publicity rather than charity, which he loves? Is it not vanity, rather than benevolence, that gives such charities?" — Henry Ward Beecher, American abolitionist and clergyman

  • "Wealth shines in giving rather than in hoarding: for the miser is hateful, whereas the generous man is applauded." — [Anicius Manlius Severinus] Boethius, Roman statesman and philosopher and Christian martyr

  • "Examples are few of men ruined by giving." — Christian Bovée

  • "It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving." — Richard Braunstein, author

  • "Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment." — Jean de La Bruyère, French writer

  • "You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." — John Bunyan, English Puritan writer and preacher

  • "Getters generally don't get happiness; givers get it." — Charles H. Burr

  • "Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others." — Barbara Bush, former American first lady

  • "I was once young and now I am old, but not once have I been witness to God's failure to supply my need when first I had given for the furtherance of His work. He has never failed in His promise, so I cannot fail in my service to Him." — William Carey, Baptist missionary to India

  • "You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving." — Amy Carmichael, missionary to India

  • "It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than it is to earn it in the first place." — Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist and philanthropist

  • "Things themselves do not remain, but their effects do. Therefore we should not be mean and calculating with what we have but give with a generous hand. Look at how much people give to players and dancers—why not give just as much to Christ?" — John Chrysostom, early Church father

  • "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." — Winston Churchill, British wartime prime minister and statesman

  • "Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness when bequeathed by those who, even alive, would part with nothing." — Charles Caleb Colton, English writer

  • "No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." — Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President

  • "Give naught, get same. Give much, get same." — Malcolm Forbes, American publisher

  • "No one has ever become poor by giving." — Anne Frank, Jewish Dutch diarist during Nazi occupation

  • "No one is so generous as he who has nothing to give." — French Proverb

  • "All you have shall some day be given: Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'." — Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet and artist

  • "[G]iving is the vital impulse and moral center of capitalism." — George Gilder, American economist

  • "The key word of the dedicated Christian should be 'give.' Charitable contributions speak eloquently of your unselfish Christian generosity." — Billy Graham, American evangelist

  • "The truly generous is truly wise, and he who loves not others, lives unblest." — Bishop Home, Scottish clergyman and playwright

  • "If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble." — Bob Hope, American comedian

  • "Remember this—you can't serve God and money, but you can serve God with money." — Selwyn Hughes, English pastor and author

  • "Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost." — Ignatius of Loyola, Jesuit founder

  • "It is more blessed to give than to receive." — Jesus, in Acts 20:35

  • "The only investment I ever made which has paid consistently increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord." — James L. Kraft, Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corp. chairman

  • "The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident." — Charles Lamb, English essayist and author

  • "Let him who exhorts others to give, give himself." — Latin Proverb

  • "I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them." — C.S. Lewis, English author and scholar4

  • "Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours." — Sinclair Lewis, American novelist and playwright

  • "To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own." — Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American aviatrix and writer

  • "A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog." — Jack London, American novelist

  • "Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think." — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American writer and poet

  • "The gift without the giver is rare." — James Russell Lowell, American author, poet and diplomat

  • "Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without a giver is bare. Who gives himself with alms feeds three, himself, his hungering neighbor and me." — James Russell Lowell, American author, poet and diplomat

  • "The heart of a giver makes the gift dear and precious." — Martin Luther, German reformer and theologian

  • "Generosity during life is a very different thing from generosity in the hour of death; one proceeds from genuine liberality and benevolence, the other from pride or fear." — Horace Mann, American educator and politician

  • "The measure of a life is not its duration, but its donation." — Peter Marshall, former U.S. Senate chaplain

  • "If it is more blessed to give than to receive, then most of us are content to let the other fellow have the greater blessing." — Shailer Matthews, American theologian

  • "I cannot think of a better definition of Christianity than that: give, give, give." — James I. McCord

  • "I am convinced that the devil has caused the subject of giving to stir up resistance and resentment among God's people because he knows there are few ways of spiritual enrichment like the exercise of faithful stewardship." — Stephen Olford, preacher and author

  • "The gift derives its value from the rank of the giver." — Ovid, Roman poet

  • "Jesus commended the widow not for giving away so much, but for keeping so little." — Ed Owens, Chicago fund manager

  • "Our culture values the size of the gift, but God values the size of what we keep." — Ed Owens, Chicago fund manager

  • "He that gives all, though but little, gives much; because God looks not to the quantity of the gift, but to the quality of the givers." — Francis Quarles, author

  • "Proportion thy charity to the strength of thine estate, lest God proportion thine estate to the weakness of thy charity. Let the lips of the poor be the trumpet of thy gift, lest in seeking applause, thou lose thy reward. Nothing is more pleasing to God than an open hand and a closed mouth." — Francis Quarles, author

  • "I believe it is every man's religious duty to get all he can honestly and to give all he can." — John D. Rockefeller, Sr., American industrialist and philanthropist

  • "Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege." — John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American industrialist and philanthropist

  • "A benefit consists not in that which is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer." — Seneca, Roman philosopher and poet

  • "Generosity is to materialism what kryptonite is to Superman." — Lloyd Shadrach, pastor and author

  • "Never measure your generosity by what you give, but rather by what you have left." — Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Roman Catholic bishop, orator, radio-broadcaster and author

  • "Our true acquisitions lie only in our charities — we gain only as we give." — William Gilmore Simms, American novelist

  • "If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives." — Robert South, English clergyman

  • "Giving is true loving." — Charles Haddon Spurgeon, English Baptist preacher

  • "In all of my years of service to my Lord, I have discovered a truth that has never failed and has never been compromised. That truth is that it is beyond the realm of possibilities that one has the ability to out-give God. Even if I give the whole of my worth to Him, He will find a way to give back to me much more than I gave." — Charles Haddon Spurgeon, English Baptist preacher

  • "Almost always the most indigent are the most generous." — Stanislas, King of Poland

  • "Defer not charities till death. He that does so is rather liberal of another man's substance than his own." — L.M. Stretch, English regionalist writer

  • "A gift is acceptable according to what the giver has, not according to what he has not." — John R.W. Stott, English pastor and evangelist

  • "We can all be stimulated to greater generosity by the known generosity of others." — John R.W. Stott, English pastor and evangelist

  • "He, who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice." — Jeremy Taylor, English bishop and writer

  • "The best investment with the least risk and the greatest dividend is giving." — Sir John Templeton, investor and philanthropist

  • "It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." — Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic missionary to India

  • "What the Bible says is really true—it's better to give than to receive." — Ted Turner, media mogul and philanthropist

  • "One promises much, to avoid giving little." — Luc, Marquis de Vauvenargues, French moralist

  • "Giving is more than a responsibility—it is a privilege; more than an act of obedience—it is evidence of our faith." — William Arthur Ward, American educator

  • "I am convinced that the majority of people would be generous from selfish motives, if they had the opportunity." — Charles Dudley Warner, newspaperman and author

  • "The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value." — Charles Dudley Warner

  • "If I cannot give bountifully, yet will I give freely." — Arthur Warwick

  • "[When I die] if I leave behind me ten and all mankind [may] bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber." — John Wesley, English evangelist and founder of Methodism

  • "I cannot help leaving my books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but in every other respect, my own hands will be my executors." — John Wesley, English evangelist and founder of Methodism

  • "Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can." — John Wesley, English evangelist and founder of Methodism

1 Robert Murray McCheyne, Sermons of M'Cheyne (Edinburgh: n.p., 1848), quoted in Timothy J. Keller,Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road, 2nd ed. (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Publishing, 1997), 63.
2 Luisa Kroll and Lea Goldman, eds., The World's Billionaires, Forbes, March 10, 2005.
3 Susan Powell, The Master's Joy: Dennis and Eileen Bakke's Unusual Wealth, Re:generation Quarterly 4, no. 4 (Winter 1998).
4 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book 3, chapter 3 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 82.

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