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Brothers and sisters:
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.2 Cor 9:6 & 7
As I was going through today’s Mass readings, this reading from 2 Corinthians really stuck out to me.
So, my understanding would be that if you give little you will receive little in return. And the exact opposite would happen if you decided to give much. In addition, we must be cheerful in the giving of the gift.
But, what if you don’t really have a lot to give? And what if you are tired and had a night where you didn’t sleep well? What if you are worried about the world and all that is going on – how can you with all of these worries be a joyful giver? Or one who gives much?
How can I in the little mundane tasks of each day become truly ‘joyful’ in the actions I offer those around me? Especially when I’m so engulfed in the thought of my own issues.
And how would I be able to give much when I wasn’t in a great mood, going through some kind of personal struggle, or I didn’t feel like I had much to offer to begin with?
Thinking of it like this, I begin to wonder if there is something I could do or a mindset I could start to practice that would make me a more joyful giver? More joyful and the ability to give more than I feel like giving?
Then I remembered an experience from early this morning.
My daughter always prepares my coffee to brew the night before I wake each morning. All I have to do is push a button. She then will intentionally set out a mug for me to use. And this morning there was an extra surprise – a vase with one of my favorite flowers in it. (Black-eyed Susan)
As I thought of her doing this task, I began to imagine how she may have been thinking at the moment she prepared this little gift for me.
I could envision a smile on her face and the constant thought of how I would receive and appreciate all that she was doing. Especially today with the extra addition of the flower.
God Loves A Cheerful Giver
Her thoughts were obviously on me and what she was doing to bless me. I know it brings her joy to do little things like this. She is always one to think of others and how she can bring some joy to their life.
And then it made sense! The joy in giving comes from the thought of the one you are giving to. Being lost in the hope and anticipation of giving to the one you are holding and loving in your thoughts.
Our minds is where it all begins…
In this way, any one of us could intentionally become a joyful giver. Just by offering even the smallest gesture for the good of the other, we can change our own hearts and animate them with joy.
I also came to recognize that the joy you gain from giving has nothing to do with how or if the person receives or appreciates it.
My daughter experiences joy in the process of thinking and doing the giving. Not in what may happen after or how I respond.
Just in the hope that it could touch my heart and make my morning brighter is enough to bring her real joy.
Do Small Things With Great Love
St Mother Theresa
To Give Much
Then I remembered the story of the old lady who entered the temple and gave her two last coins. And how Jesus praised her generosity. Because she gave from her lack & her lowliness, not from her surplus.
She gave when life was hard, not perfect, and probably full of struggle. She gave all she had with God in mind, not her lack of gift.
Just like my daughter this morning, her mind and heart were focused on the ‘other’.
I take this to mean that even when we don’t have the generous feelings, a lot of money, or the ability to give all that we would hope to – and we proceed to step out and offer the little we do have in spite of it- this is when we really give and sow bountifully.
We can do this even in this world where joy seems to be so hard to find…
By planting that little seed in offering the right intent & gift of our heart, one can’t help but become a more cheerful giver and be able to give much more than we hoped for.