“How happy are you who are poor; yours is the Kingdom of God.”
– Jesus (Luke 6: 17-26)
No one embodied this more than St. Francis of Assisi.
By doing away with all possessions – embracing being “poor” in the most literal sense, his joy was unquestioned. His was the Kingdom of God while living – and now eternally.
While we’re not all called to this life of strict poverty, it does raise the question – do I need all that I have?
All of what we possess creates an attachment – could be our clothes, our cars, our collections.
It could also be our ideas, our dreams, our aspirations.
While these are not bad in themselves, they are things we can become attached to. As with any attachment, when they’re threatened or removed, we get flooded with fear or anxiety.
So what do we do about this?
I think this is where generosity needs to step in.
Generosity is freely giving to others regardless of an expectation of return – in fact I’d go so far as to say that the expectation is that there’s no return whatsoever.
If we’re giving with an expectation that we’ll get something back (even if it’s recognition, a thank you or some favourable consideration), it’s not being generous – just transactional.
What are you called to be generous with?
The first answer most of us think of is money – and we can all be more generous with our money.
Jesus challenged the rich young man to give away EVERYTHING.
Whether you tithe 10% or more, there’s always room to give further…but our generosity should go beyond this.
Are we generous with our time? With who we spend it with or what we spend it doing?
If it’s time dedicated to others’ priorities over our own with the goal of helping them, it’s generosity.
Are we generous with our prayer? Spending more time with God in conversation and bring more intentions to him is a great way of showing generosity – as this is at a cost of other ways we could have been spending that time.
Whether it’s being generous with our money, with our possessions or our time, the goal is to willingly give it to others.
This, however, is hard!
Worry quickly sets in.
Partly because that attachment is threatened.
Moreso because we attribute these “things” (money, possessions & time) as what will provide us security and safety. Our future needs seem to be “at risk”
By freely giving them away, it leaves us feeling exposed – wondering how our own needs are going to be met.
If we’re being generous, we focus entirely on meeting the needs of others instead of selfishly addressing our own needs.
This can be scary as well as very hard to do.
Do we trust that God can and will provide all that we need?
Do we trust that if He sees us freely giving to others without any expectation of return that He’ll make up for our own needs?
Our heads usually say yes but our hearts often cringe when having to take that leap.
We all could benefit from praying for more trust.
If that trust can grow and we can spend more of our time freely giving to others without a worry about our own needs, surely that’s a joy we’ll never want to let go of.
Like St. Francis, that’s one step closer to possessing the Kingdom of God in our every day.
Being more generous means becoming poor in things our “self” demands.
When we do so with confidence that God will fill our poverty with His gifts and grace, we’re living the life He intended for us.
Trust that God will provide.
Realize that He’s better at it than we are.
Be generous with all that He’s giving us.
And let the cycle repeat.