Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. If I choose to give little then I will receive little. If I choose to give in abundance, I will be returned an abundance. (2 Corinthians 9:6-10).
What is St. Paul saying to the Corinthians? He goes on. Each must do as already determined. It sounds like I need to give and gifts will be returned to me – and God has already determined what I need to give. Yesterday’s post on the spiritual gifts points in the right direction. Sometimes these spiritual gifts that we are to give away may come with difficulty. But now it sounds like St. Paul is saying hey, Corinthians, suck it up. So I guess I need to as well. It doesn’t do me any good to be sad or compulsive about giving. God loves a cheerful giver!
I do take comfort from Paul’s words that God makes every grace abundant, giving me always what I need for the work of my hands. God gave me life, a spiritual gift, and is expecting me to spread his words of eternal life for all who come to him. So am I?
Psalm 112 says Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need. Today it’s hard to know the difference between need and want; between waste and frugality. Right now I sit with both need and want – I have no electrical power because a large storm just passed through my area. Do I need electric? It’s pretty hard to live without it for very long. Our world has come to totally rely on it for most every function of our lives. Yes, I need it. Some people need money because they don’t know how to save but spend every dime they earn. Others lose jobs, have illnesses or family situations that leave them with very few funds. Which are the poor? St. Dominic sold everything he had to give to the poor. Makes me think of the wise virgins who waited for the bridegroom with extra oil for their lamps and those who missed him because they left to get more. They planned, prepared and had what they needed. Too many do not know how to set money aside for the tough times. They have a hard time managing it for everyday use. I struggle in knowing when to be gracious and lend to those in need – because how do I know their need is real – do I help or let them find their way? Should I care? The gospel takes me to the answer.
(John 12-24-26) Jesus says if a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it produces much fruit. I can understand this; it reminds me of a quote from St. Faustina “Love is the flower, mercy is the fruit.” The rose must open to be beautiful but once it does it is done and gives the growth away to the next flower in the making. The fruit trees flowering bud gives way to a tiny fruit that will grow and nourish the one who picks it from the tree. Christ’s words “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
It’s not in the thinking, it’s in the giving from the heart. It’s knowing by being part of the struggle that I will already know what to do. If that’s not happening, then I am being more self-concerned than desiring to give. If I am calculating whether they are poor, then I am not dying to myself to know them and their needs.