Generosity

Confidence in Abundant Riches

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.'” – Psalm 31:14

Faith is Trust. Trust in God should yield great confidence, especially as time passes and this trust is proven to be well founded. Sadly, our trust in God is often in matters of money but not in the weightier areas of power, reputation, or the hazy area of “success”. Those with confidence in God can give and give with no fear of running out, not just in terms of financial charity, but in all charitable matters. Remember that the word “charity” means “love”. It comes from a Greek word, charis, that means love, grace, gratitude and beauty.

The Generosity of Power

If we are confident in God’s ability to care for us, and to eventually bring us to Glory, we do not need to control every situation and/or person but ourselves. The confident Christian is ready to share power or relinquish it, although legitimate responsibility cannot be discarded. As supervisors, we allow room for employees’ initiative, even for bad choices and errors. Because we believe in free will, we want to give others enough room to make good choices, and not “micromanage”. Under management, we obey reasonable demands with joy and self-abandonment, confident that we will lose nothing in the context of eternity.

As parents and teachers, we can free the young from overly restrictive rules, and not demand that they see everything as we do. We can look for opportunities for them to make decisions and determine their immediate course, coaching and supporting them. Our confidence and lack of fear can permit a bit of “creative chaos” in the home and classroom.

In marriage and relationships, it means the deference of Ephesians 5:21. We can be sure as we give in to the other that we will lose nothing in the long run. We can share responsibility, success and failure alike.

By letting go of the desire for control and predictability, we are more free and we also free those around us.

The Generosity of Credit

One thing sure to bother many of us is when someone else gets credit we think we deserve. Whether or not we really deserve it is not a matter of generosity, but how we deal with “misplaced” credit is. For many, credit equals success, and to share it or fail to claim it is a problem for the ego. On the other hand, we can create situations where others will get the credit, and let them enjoy success. This is a sacrifice, but look at the example we’ve been given: Jesus came and did the great work of salvation, but lets others take credit for “converting” people. As he said, “others have done the work, and you have come into their gain.” Giving credit to others who deserve it is a simple matter of truth and justice, but allowing others to claim it wrongly is humility. Yes, it isn’t truthful, but can anyone imagine Jesus worrying over earthly glories? If we deserve credit, we can be sure to receive it at the Judgement. But if we give it away now, perhaps some of our well-deserved blame will go with it.

The Generosity of Time

This is almost funny, in a sad way. Nearly all of us have the illusion that “my time is my own.” It isn’t. Everything belongs to God, and He is very generous with time. We are given a good deal of it, and expected to make a return. When we say we don’t have time for reading Scripture, or volunteering, or for children, we are telling a lie. We all waste time. If we used all the wasted time in a fruitful way, we would be far more effective. The first step to being generous with time is to acknowledge that our time is not our own, it is a gift from God. And it was meant to be shared.

For Continued Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2536

“Mere Christianity,” by C.S. Lewis

“New Seeds of Contemplation,” by Thomas Merton

“The Little Flowers of St. Francis”

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