A Cheerful Giver

Icon of Pantocrator (Hilandar) - J23
Icon of the Pantocrator – J23

“But this I [Jesus] say, ‘He who sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:  for God loves a cheerful giver.’ ”  (2 Cor. 9:6-7) 

Generosity is not about having extra means to do good to others, or even actually about giving outwardly at all, but it is the gaining through that constant practice of generous giving to become like God in His freely giving His Love, compassion, and mercy to everyone at all times.  If we will gain this heart and mind, then we will have everything we need to live a blessed and meaningful life both here and in Eternity.

Surprisingly often the most generous people are those with very little means, and in the Third World where real poverty can be found unlike even what we can normally imagine, those very poorest people are usually willing to share with others even the small amount that they have.  And they are glad to do so.

Anyone can be generous.  It does not take a lot of time necessarily to do so, nor much outward means at our disposal.  Kind words, a helping hand actually extended, sharing warmth from heart to heart, these are what anyone can do and all day long and even in the midst of a busy and focused life.

Mercy and generosity come from the same heart and mind.  This is the way God expresses His Love to others in a tangible and wonderful way.  We see this lived out by Him in the Holy Gospels in almost every account, and then later in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Lives of the Saints.

When the opportunity comes, and this is very often if we become aware of it and wish to do so, then let us avoid griping about it, or then just doing this generosity out of a duty or in an impersonal way.  But by God’s grace and help, let us gladly, openly, and cheerfully give to others as He gives to us all day long.

May we be more like this Great Benefactor Who feeds us, clothes us, gives us warmth and sustenance, and with a heart full of warm love, is giving us the path to live with Him and dine at His table of great spiritual delights, just by learning to give like Him with love.  May we cheerfully and gladly do it!

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  (Matt 5:7) 

The Monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and at the Convent of St. Silouan
and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
and the Staff at Orthodox Byzantine Icons and St. Isaac’s Bookstore.