I have a feeling that most people, if asked if they were generous or not, would probably give a middle of the road answer. I believe only a very few people would willingly describe themselves as being miserly. I also believe that few people would want to ascribe to themselves the title of "Most Generous Person." Still, there is a tendency there, on a personal level, to think more of ourselves than is actually true.
To be truly generous is defined as giving without thought of anything in return. Keep that in mind, because there are people in this world who make a living based on the generosity of others. Maybe there are people who have even depended on your personal ability to be generous or not. Truth is, when a waiter at a restaurant services your table, many of us want to tip based on the ticket amount, or how well we are served. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those methods, but if that is what you base your tip on, then you are not being generous. Why? See the definition again and ask yourself this question, "Am I tipping based on something I am getting?" If you answer "yes" then you are not giving without expectation, and you have not been generous with your money.
However, the opposite can be said of the waiter, or even a pizza delivery driver. These people serve without any real expectation of anything in return. Of course, they certainly hope that good or timely service will make someone more willing to tip more, but their service is not predicated on whether or not you tip well, or at all. Their level of service will be the same for you as with any other customer. For this service, they are paid lower than the minimum wage per hour because the owner of the pizza place or the manager of the restaurant knows they will make money in tips. Their ability to make a living then, is dependent upon people who may or may not be generous in giving a tip.
You see, very recently I've been in the position of seeing the working side of someone who has to work for tips to make a living. This person has a family, two kids, one car, and cannot make enough at his regular job so now he works two. One of those jobs is delivering pizzas. In talking with him one night about how things went, he described the nights and the people he meets like a roller coaster ride. "It has it's ups and downs. Sometimes people can be very rude and give you nothing, but other times people can be very generous. I guess it all really matters what mood they're in when you get there." I asked him about the "delivery fee" pizza places add on to orders, and he shared with me that the store collects a high percentage of that fee, for what he didn't know, but out of any delivery fee he only made a little more than 50% and that wasn't enough to pay for the gas and wear and tear on his car.
I then asked him why he continued to do it. He replied, "I don't have a choice. In the end, I just depend on the generosity of others." We talked some more, but it really had me thinking about all the tips I'd ever left in my life. Turns out, I don't think I'm as generous of a person as I like to think I am. Often times I've based tips on the level of service I received, and again, I would not be critical of anyone who did that, but it is worth noting that doing so does not make you generous.
To be truly generous, you have to give with no thought of reward or return of any kind. With that definition in mind, how generous are you really not just with tips to delivery drivers or those who serve you at restaurants, but how generous are you with your time to other people who have nothing to give back to you in return? How generous are you with the talent or talents God has given you? How generous are you with your kids, your wife, your extended family? How generous are you really?