Jan 31, 2014

Can We Talk about Generosity in January?

We have a very generous church and generosity is a learned behavior in my experience. Few if any of us were born generous—and so when we get a group of generous-minded people together, then it is a thing of beauty!

If we have heard it once, then we have heard it a thousand times: “God loves a cheerful giver.” Yet, do we really hear about the spiritual benefits that Paul writes of when he addresses the idol of possessions? Paul in fact writes: “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Hardly anyone I know does not struggle with what we possess and how to preserve it. The Christian faith talks a lot about property and assets so it is a good place to turn to understand our responsibilities as Christians. As Saint Augustine once wrote, “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.”

We each have our affections, but what we share with others goes into the great repository of common human life and decency. God loves a cheerful giver because God may know that giving is the essence of authentic human relationship. People who are happy with others are generally pretty happy people. Happy people are generous people. Likewise, generous people are happy people.

As the great Afro-American theologian, Bobby McFerrin, once said, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” We are happiest when we make our lives count.



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