“Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.”– 2 Cor. 9:6-8
As I read this, another verse comes to mind: “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Both St. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians and St. Luke in his gospel share a similar view: abundance from God should yield generosity on our part.
So many have told me throughout the years that they wish they had more—more talents, more money, a better job—and I’ve thought about that for my own life, too. But immediately I recall that the greater the blessing, the greater the responsibility.
When we find ourselves coming upon an unexpected amount of money, our first question should be a prayer: “Lord, what can I do with this that would be pleasing to You?” We can say the equivalent for a specific talent that might lead to a professional promotion. How does this work, this increased responsibility, translate into what I can give back to God?
I have always felt the weight of great responsibility, even as I have grown as a woman, a wife, a mother, and a writer. Friends have said from time to time, “You’re so lucky. I wish I could be a published author.” And I was there once, too. What they don’t know—and what I often don’t voice aloud—is that the immense burden that is placed upon a person who shares her story and her heart.
At times, we don’t realize the profound effects of our lives – what we say and how, the choices we make, our lifestyle. When you are entrusted with the minds and hearts of total strangers, as a public voice (for me, a writer), you are, in a sense, more responsible for your words and decisions.
To whom much is given, much will be required.
Abundance from God—bigger gifts—should yield greater generosity on our part.
We cannot take lightly the fact that God tends to be gratuitous to us, because He wants us to learn how to give back to Him and to others. It’s not that He expects a return for a gift, not that His love is based on specific requirements. It’s that He knows what we are capable of doing, and He wants to widen our hearts, so that we are better able to love.
Generosity on our part can appear in different ways. Once, my godfather admired an expensive quilted purse with a bright floral pattern I’d taken care of and used for a long time. On an impulse, I said, “You like it that much? It’s yours.”
In years past, I would have bypassed her compliment or simply thanked her and moved on, despite having a sense that God was asking me to be generous in that moment. So the act of giving is not necessarily natural for everyone. It takes a particular awareness of the Holy Spirit stirring in your soul, tapping on your heart to encourage you to give more.
Being generous does not always mean giving away your material possessions or money. Most often, it’s about giving of oneself—your time, your focus. There are spiritual gifts others need that only you can give the world. These are often the hardest to share, because we can be territorial of our time or feel emotionally depleted at the end of a long, difficult day.
When my five children incessantly bombard me with questions and chatter at me all day long, it requires a twinge of selflessness in order for me to truly attend to my husband when he needs to vent about troubles at work.
Generosity is about recognizing that all that we have, and all that we are, comes from God and should be returned to God in joy.