Proverbs 18:16 reads, "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men." I have personally watched generosity do this very thing. My father was not a wealthy man but the little he did own was available to his friends or those who had need. I watched as his generosity was abused. Those to whom he lent would return items broken or abused. Never did he complain or retaliate and never did he cease being generous. His generosity caused those in his community to love and respect him. All this because he was a generous man.
This text from Proverbs does speak to the Oriental custom of offering gifts to a friend or superior. But I do not believe it ONLY addresses that reality. It seems that generosity is the foundation of this text. Proverbs 19:6 reads, "Many will seek the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts." Jesus also addressed using what we steward to influence others when He said in Luke 16:9, "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness..." Jesus wants us to be generous with others and use what we possess to further His Kingdom purposes.
Generosity can characterize anyone's life regardless their abilities, schedule or socio-economic status. Using our time, talents and treasures to seek the favor of others in order to have the opportunity to plant truth in that relationship honors Christ. The challenge for many is coming to see themselves as stewards and not owners of what they possess. My father had that understanding. And, curiously, he did not take one of the possessions he gave away or lent to others with him when Jesus called him home!