Let’s be cheerful givers PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 September 2018 12:22



THIS is what St. Paul encourages to do and to be. His words: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)

If with faith we believe in these words of St. Paul, then we would know what to do and how to be so as to draw more love for us from God. It is to sow goodness everywhere bountifully. It is to be generous even to a heroic degree, doing it with utmost freedom. It is to be a cheerful giver.

This is self-giving at its best mode. This is how we ought to love God and everybody else. It is to give not only things but our own selves without measure, for as St. Francis de Sales would put it,“The measure of love is to love without measure.”

We should not be afraid to be generous, especially with God, because God cannot be outdone in generosity. The more we give ourselves to him, the more we will receive also from him. Whatever loss we seem to suffer because of loving is actually regained a hundredfold.

Let’s take note of the following gospel passages that reassure us of how we can gain much more than what we seem to lose in loving:

-“Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sister or father or mother or children or father or mother or children or farms of My name’s sake,   will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29)

-“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mk 8:35)

-“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.”(Mt 19:21)

It would be good if we examine our attitude and dispositions when we give something, if not our own selves, to God and to others. The ideal we should try to reach is to give ourselves unconditionally, without calculation, without strings attached.

This does not mean that we do so without prudence. In the words of St. Paul cited above, we are told that “each one must give as he has decided in his heart.” So, it is not a matter of giving without thinking, without weighing things, without considering certain needs in our life.

Prudence should not be understood as some limitation of our generosity. Rather, it should be understood as precisely enhancing our generosity given our human condition. Let us always remember that Christ always respects the way we are, giving due consideration to our human needs.

But to determine how to be generous with prudence is, obviously, not an easy thing to do. It is very easy for us to rationalize and justify our egoism and selfishness. And we also can easily mask our self-interest as generosity. We have to bring this point to our prayer. We may even have to consult others to enlighten us. But we just have to do it.

To be sure, being a truly cheerful giver will give us a good measure of peace and satisfaction despite the sacrifices involved. It may happen that the option we take in order to be a cheerful giver would be considered bad and even foolish according to human standards. But let’s take comfort in the truth that in the end, it is God who will judge us, not us.

In this, let’s take comfort in St. Paul’s reassuring words: “We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken. Struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4:8-9)