The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today’s first reading focuses not only on generosity, but also the attitude we should bring to the experience of giving. St. Paul points out that “God loves a cheerful giver.” I find the most cheerful and generous people are often the ones most rooted in gratitude. When we start from a place of recognizing that all we have is gift, our generosity comes from a place of freedom and joy.
My best friend’s mom is one of the most generous people I have ever known. She spends hours each week preparing crafts and activities for the residents of a local nursing home, sending e-cards or holiday packages to loved ones, and welcoming anyone who shows up at her home with hugs, a huge smile, and endless amounts of food. Repeatedly, I’m amazed by both her generosity and the joy she exudes–the “what” and the “how” of giving. Mama Heather gives so freely because she is rooted in God’s gratuitous love and takes time to honor that.
Our world would look different if we each took time to be grateful and cherish all that we have as gift. How can a moment of gratitude today help you be more cheerful and generous to your loved ones and the wider community around you?
—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius Loyola