Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Ok. It’s January 8, 2019. I know I’m late to the dance with this, but I’m stepping out with my word for the year.
If there has ever been a spiritual practice that I’ve been more challenged with, it is definitely generosity. I believe in it, because I’ve been the beneficiary of so many others generosity toward me. So why do I have such a difficult time with being generous? I don’t know. And that is the first half of the two-fold purpose for making this my word/work of the year. I know that by intentionally practicing generosity, all sorts of stuff will come up with it. And that’s the point. I hope to unearth the root of stinginess so that I can replace it with a root of open hearted, open handed giving. So, as we go along this year, I hope to drop a note here or there on this blog about the discoveries I’ve made through the practice of generosity.
The second half of my purpose is simply to become more generous. At the top of this post I quoted 2 Corinthians 9:7, emphasizing on “God loves a cheerful giver.” I know that God loves me whether I give or not. That’s not the issue. When I read that phrase, the message I get is that “God’s love is most genuinely expressed through generosity.” And to take it a bit further, God’s Spirit within us rejoices when we are the recipient of open hearted, open handed giving. This joy begets joy in the giver. This is why the Apostle Paul quotes Jesus, saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35) and Saint Francis instructs us through his prayer, “It is in giving that we receive.” My hope this year is to discover the joy of giving, to enter into the reciprocal dance of joyous generosity, and to express God’s love to those around me through open hearted, open handed giving.
What will this look like in real life this year? For starters, I will keep it simple. Opening doors for others, offering smiles to those around me and even passers-by, to carry a little bit of cash to give anyone who asks, and so on. I hope to put into practice more sophisticated ways of giving as I get a handle on this. It is going to be a hard won process. I did a little experimenting with this toward the end of 2018 and found out that it can be really fun. So that’s the groove I’m dancing with into this new year.
So for me, 2019 will be a year of practicing generosity.
Thanks for reading.
Grace and peace,
Originally published at The Way Beyond.