Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever." Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
Any gardener will confirm Paul’s words that, ‘Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously’. This is often borne out by the trading that goes on when one gardener swaps surplus runner bean plants for a neighbour’s surplus courgette plants, while another gardener trades spare tomato plants for a neighbour’s spare brassicas.
In this passage from his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul is actually thanking them for their support of churches elsewhere who are experiencing famine and financial need; encouraging them to continue giving.
The basis of Paul’s encouragement to give is not based on duty, but as a response to the generosity and blessings which they have received from God. He encourages them to give generously and cheerfully, in the knowledge that this is the road to blessing. As we give to others, God will bless us. Generosity begets generosity.
Generosity is not just something we do with our money, though. We can be generous with our time spent for the benefit of others, we can be generous with our gifts and creative abilities, we can be generous with words of encouragement and affirmation.
What has God blessed you with? What do you have a surplus of that you could give to meet the need of someone else? It could be your money or your time, it could be skills in the garden or the kitchen, with DIY or with a sewing machine. You can take Paul at his word, as you give generously and cheerfully, ‘God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’
A Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost; To fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil, and not to seek for rest; To labour, and not to ask for reward, except to know that I am doing your will.”
I the Lord of sea and sky