The root of generosity, as in most matters of faith, is trust. Do I trust that there is enough to share? Enough for me and for you and for all of us? Do I trust in God's abundance?
When I was comfortable, I said, “I will never stumble.” Because it pleased you, Lord, you made me a strong mountain.
But then you hid your presence. I was terrified. I cried out to you, Lord. I begged my Lord for mercy.
The Psalmist describes two extremes that we may face in life: on the one hand, comfortable prosperity, on the other hand, troubled despair.
Our logic might tell us that we’re more likely to be generous when things are going great than when everything has fallen to pieces; however, studies show that having “everything” or having “nothing” is not the key predictor for generosity. Instead, our generosity is more determined by our ability to relate with others and to empathize with them. Do we feel a connection with another person? Can we put ourselves in their shoes? If so, we will likely be more generous.
Having everything fall to pieces, being troubled and dismayed — that’s no fun. But it’s this kind of hard experience that prepares us to understand and empathize with others. And that, in turn, is the key to opening our hearts and lives to share generously of ourselves. That’s what psychology says — but it also sounds like God’s way of redeeming our painful experiences.
God, I don’t want to have to suffer, but I know that it is a part of life. Things won’t always be easy and comfortable. So when things get hard, help me to learn and reflect so that I will emerge on the other side with new strength, compassion, and empathy. Amen.
Go out and share with your heart.
Don’t share because you feel pressured. Don’t share with hesitation.
Share with cheerfulness and with love.
For you can trust in this: “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.”
based on 2 Corinthians 9:7-8