Thumbs up to optimism

An article about optimism in a recent issue of Time magazine reminded me of how blessed I am to travel in the company of people of hope –people who’ve chosen generosity over stinginess and who hold lightly to the material things of life. For the most part, leaders of faith-based organizations are optimists. They not only imagine alternative (better) realities, they eagerly join forces with God in achieving them.  They operate with what author Tali Sharot refers to as the “optimism bias.”

So here’s my thumbs up to the marvelous men and women serving in ministry boardrooms across North America – board members who are called, in the words of my friend Mac Warford, “to watch (to care for) the organization they serve and to discern God’s presence in the midst of institutional life.” In tough times, pessimists scurry for the door. But not these folks. They stay. They pray. They give. And they offer hope.

Thumbs up as well to the CEOs and development staff who wake up every day with hope in their hearts of hearing yes more often than no. Their enthusiasm attracts new friends and draws longtime donors into even closer relationship with the organizations they serve. They create evangelists for the causes they represent. As they celebrate with donors the good work that God will do with gifts provided, hearts grow bigger – more optimistic – more generous.   

Another thumbs up to the amazing individuals who year after year give (often sacrificially) their treasure in support of causes great and small; local and far-flung. To willingly part with one’s hard-earned money is a true statement of hope in the future. Scholars Terrence Deal and Casey Baluss suggest that  “benefactors give because they believe and have faith in a beloved enterprise.”  Those of us who’ve embraced fundraising as ministry know that when faith is in the picture, people give because they are eager to be part of what God is up to in the world.

As I am experiencing it, life is good in the company of optimists. In fact, I find it impossible to be a pessimist when traveling with folks such as these. Optimists know that generous matters. I like that. How about you?


  1. Hello Ifeoma, Thank you for your mention of Generous Matters in your blog post for A Woman’s Place. Given the tough issue — domestic violence — with which you work, optimism is an essential to your mission. Blessings to you.

  2. Ifeoma Aduba says:

    Rebekah – What can I say… I was inspired! I only recently found your blog and now I find myself eagerly scanning my in box for new posts. Optimism is so essential, but easily forgotten in the daily grind of any work. Yet, we keep getting up and pushing forward each day. There is definitely something to this “optimism bias” and I’m loving it! Thank you so much for your wonderful work.

  3. Thank you, Ifeoma, for your kind word. You made my day. I hope you will tell your friends about Generous Matters. The more readers the merrier.


  1. […] thanks to Rebekah Basinger, author of the blog Generous Matters, who’s catchy blog title “Thumbs Up to Optimism” caught my eye the other day. Despite my often self-proclaimed cynicism, I’m a sucker for […]

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