Study: Reflect on a moment when you gave generously of your time, resources, or money. What was the cost, and what did you discover?
Pray: Take time to thank the Lord for the blessings lavished upon you. Cultivate gratitude in your heart and express it in your life.
Serve: Who has the Lord placed in your life to serve? How can your life be a blessing of generous giving to another?
The theme of generous giving runs through these four readings this week:
- Old Testament – the widow who gives to Elijah some bread from her scant resources
- Psalm – the Lord who gives sight, hearing, freedom, justice, food and hope
- New Testament – Christ who gives his life, once for all, that we might have salvation
- Gospel – the poor widow who gives two small coins…all that she has
Let’s look at how this theme surfaces throughout these readings.
Earthly blessings. The psalm reminds us that God is the source of all that we have, and it begs a simple point: Are we grateful? I know firsthand how easy it is to take even the simplest blessings for granted. All it takes is to lose something that is part of our routine (health, work, friendship) to rediscover the gift that was right in front of our eyes.
Spiritual Salvation. Jesus Christ offers his life once-for-all that through his death and resurrection we might have eternal life. The Father gave his only Son that we might be saved. This profound act of divine generosity speaks of a love that is vast and all encompassing. God does this for us!
Profound human generosity. These two women gave from their need, not their want. It was not surplus food or money…it was their livelihood. It is crucial to note that no gift is too big or small in God’s eyes; what’s crucial is the relationship between the offering and the person – is it given as a token or as something of value?
Do we take time to acknowledge the blessings we have? No really…do we pause in the course of our day – in a moment of prayer – and thank the Lord for the gifts we have been given? Let me be clear: without gratitude generosity means nothing, for without thankfulness we have no appreciation and respect for the gift that is given.
And equally crucial point follows: Do we give generously? Do we share what we have in a manner that shows our prayer and reflection? All gifts, great or small, are precious in the Lord’s eyes when they are offered in a spirit of love; all gifts, great or small, lose their significance when they are given without respect for the sacrifices and blessings they represent.
Simply put: we give generously out of gratitude for God’s generous gifts to us! Take a moment this week to pause and reflect on your blessings. Then consider the ways that you can offer your life. Whether it is with time, talent, or treasure – God will take our gifts, generously given, and make them a blessing in the world.