Wellspring Community

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ON BEING GENEROUS

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence and keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that comes with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Last week, we meditated on being called to the “very holiness of God”! This holiness is not something out of this world. It is in this world, here and now as we go about doing our daily mundane chores that we live out our call to holiness.

One of the virtues that facilitates our response to the call to holiness is being grateful to the many blessings and gifts that come to us from the generosity of our God. We meditated on being grateful and letting our life reflect a deep and personal sense of gratitude to God and all those who have blessed us.

Gratefulness for the generosity of our God and that of others calls us to become generous with all that we are and have. May our lives reflect the generosity of our God.

At the very beginning of the Bible, we read about man and woman, blessed with the generosity of God, living in a land of abundance in total communion with God, with themselves and nature. (Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7). How much more generous can our God be!!! And how much more generous should He be!!! How ungrateful it is that man and woman reached for something that didn’t belong to them instead of enjoying what was generously given to them!!!

The Book of Genesis describes man and woman being called to live in abundance, immersed into the generosity of God’s provident care. They were to open their hearts and embrace the abundance that came from a generous heart, a heart love. But, they looked for more!!!

Abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives. When we choose not to focus on what is missing, but on the abundance that is present – love, health, family, friends, work, the wasteland of misery falls away and we experience daily joy, we become grateful and we become generous as our God is to us.

The author of the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 9:1-6) personifies wisdom as a lady and speaks of wisdom, after having built her house, inviting everyone to share the abundance…rich food, choice wines, etc. and (9:13-18) “folly” as a harlot who also invites everyone to feed on stolen food and drink. What Wisdom offers brings life and what Folly offers brings death. Generosity generates generosity and the lack of it generates emptiness!!!

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the abundant generosity of the Churches in Macedonia. In the midst of severe trials and out of their poverty, they have given generously to the members of the Church. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to be just as generous….just as they are rich in every respect, in faith, in knowledge, etc. they may “abound in charity”. Christ has become poor so that you may become rich by his poverty. (2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15 – Second Reading of this Sunday, 13th Week of the Year).

Paul encouraged the Corinthian community to be generous with all of God’s gifts as a sign of gratitude and confidence in God’s watchful care (2 Corinthians 9:6-10). Generosity will become fruitful in abundance. God will provide in abundance…generosity will be enriched in every way…be joyful in giving!

Be gracious and joyful in giving! Let your giving be a sign of gratitude! Give from the heart of abundance! Have a big heart!

We live in a world which is more concerned about creating a market rather than with the product to be marketed. We live in a consumer society. In the past, production served consumption: because people needed bread, the baker set up his shop. Today, we experience just the opposite: consumption serves the production.

Industries do not profit from asking itself, “How can we serve the people?” The question today is “How can we create needs which will in turn expand our industry?” The consumer is pressured to buy whatever the industry wants to sell for its expansion rather than buy what would satisfy his real need. Industry manages to make products that would be obsolete and out of date in a matter of months. This part of the car is no longer made!

We live in a society of new models, more advanced techniques, new methods, ‘throw away rather than repair” attitudes, status symbols, etc. We live in a world of “too many choices”. A world of “too many choices” is a world of tension. Television advertising, the pressures of industries, the tensions of choices, the pressures of luxuries, etc. make generosity difficult.

Industries have a way of treating and presenting luxuries as needs. We need to let luxuries be luxuries and not let them become needs. We need to scrutinize our needs to see if they can be simplified. Simplicity and detachment are virtues that enable us to be generous.

Most of us know the Gospel story of the poor widow putting in two of the smallest coins, available in her country at the time, into the collection box of the temple treasury. Jesus remarked that her gift was more than what many rich people had given, since she gave all that she had to live on. I have heard many thoughts on this story which are all inspiring and challenging, such as…..

  • It is not the size of the gift that matters, but what it costs you.
  • There are no gifts that are too small, without value.
  • Even our small gifts are important. They do make a difference.

Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury at the temple. He saw many rich people putting in large sums of money, and then a poor widow putting in two small copper coins – like a penny or two in our terms. He called his disciples and gave this poor widow as an example to follow. The rich gave out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty had put in everything she had, all she had to live on. What Jesus praised was not the amount of money that she gave, but the person that she was – she was, benevolent, generous and self-sacrificing….had a heart of abundance!

The widow’s small gift was an abundant offering…..came from a heart of abundance. Her way of giving – giving such a huge chunk of what she had – is the practice that Jesus offered the disciples as an example. She gave for God’s purpose to maintain God’s house, without questioning, with generosity, giving the last two cents for God’s purposes.

The Gospel of John tells us a wonderful story of compassion, of simplicity, of abundance, of generosity, of sharing, of giving, of trusting……a story that carries much for our inspiration and reflection (John 6:1-15). Jesus called the disciples to feed the hungry with whatever was available and showed that there is always abundance in giving and sharing. Five loaves and two fish go a long way in meeting urgent needs.

There was not only enough for all, but there was enough left over to fill twelve wicker baskets, there was an overflowing, “my cup is overflowing”, an abundance, God’s abundance!

Our Sacred Scriptures proclaim the greatness of our God, the abundance of his love, the generosity of his heart and compassion that flows from a heart of Love.

Generosity is other-centeredness….being mindful of others and looking out for the needs of others!

Abraham, Lot and their families, with all their belongings reached the land of Canaan. Tension began to build between the two households. Abraham, in an effort to bring peace between them, let Lot choose the land that he wished to occupy. As the elder, Abraham could have made the choice, but he let Lot make the choice. Abraham’s generosity eases the tension, resolves conflict and brings peace. (Genesis 13:2, 5-18)

Be gracious in your treatment of others. Let another have a chance at life!

St. Paul taught the Philippians, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5)

Two brothers worked together on the family farm. One was married and had a large family. The other was single. At the day’s end, the brothers shared everything equally, produce and profit.

Then one day the single brother said to himself, “It’s not right that we should share equally the produce and the profit. I’m alone and my needs are simple.” So each night he took a sack of grain from his bin and crept across the field between their houses, dumping it into his brother’s bin.

Meanwhile, the married brother said to himself, “It’s not right that we should share the produce and the profit equally. After all, I’m married and I have my wife and my children to look after me in years to come. My brother has no one, and no one to take care of his future.” So each night he took a sack of grain and dumped it into his single brother’s bin.

Both men were puzzled for years because their supply of grain never dwindled. Then one dark night the two brothers bumped into each other. Slowly it dawned on them what was happening. They dropped their sacks and embraced one another.

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out!

For many years someone used to bring back my garbage bin from Rhones Quarter Road to the back of the house after the garbage has been picked on Wednesday afternoons. I always wondered who this kind hearted and generous person was!

One day, I was working in my office and I heard the bin rolling up the driveway and there he was, my neighbor Bob. I looked out and said, “I caught you this time” and he replied, “you were not supposed to see”. He didn’t want me to know that he was doing this favor for me! Amazing generosity! I learned from my neighbor that real generosity is definitely doing something nice for someone who will never find out!

Do not let your hearts be troubled…….there are many dwelling places in my father’s house…….. (John 14:1-6)

This is one of the most encouraging passages in the Gospels. It is comforting and freeing to know that there is abundance in heaven, that there is room for all in the Father’s house. We are used to overcrowded buses, trains, streets, hotels and houses. We are used to accommodations being limited. In the heavenly Father’s house there is room for all, there is room for all in the heart of God.

Let us choose to be grateful and joyful and generous with the abundance that is available to us and not be discontent and looking for more and better. Let us be mindful of those who are less fortunate than we are, rethink our needs, downsize our appetites, share with the hungry and the needy and share from the abundance we have received, food for the body as well as food for the spirit.

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs