by Rev. Tom Lichner, D.Min.
I was raised in a household with my parents, my grandfather, and five siblings…the definition of a “full house”. I thought my grandfather (Pappy) was especially generous, because each September, after peddling his home-made clam chowder around my small home town, he allowed me to reach into the cigar-box-till to grab a hand-full of change as payment for my work. Those coins filled my pocket and I felt rich.
Generous is defined as: full, complete; not holding back in giving of oneself for good. One of the core teachings of the world religions is to practice generosity. We can share what we have, even if we have little. “Just give a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, and you will surely be rewarded”, says Jesus in Matthew 10:42.
The spiritual practice of generosity involves us in giving something of ourselves with “no strings attached” and without expectations of being repaid. In Galatians 5:22 (NRSV), St. Paul names generosity as a fruit of the spirit. He is saying that practicing generosity is a sure sign of the presence of God in us.
Explore and reflect upon some scriptural wisdom about generosity:
Proverbs 14: 31; 19:17 2 Corinthians 9:7
Matthew 5:42; 20:1-16 1 Peter 3:9
Luke 6:27-38; 14:12-14; 15:11-32
Close your eyes and relax with some deep breathing. Prayerfully imagine what generosity looks like. What image(s) would describe generosity to you. How would you practice it and describe it to others. Then thank God for your generosity in tending to your spirit.