Today’s reflection is on our first reading from 2 Corinthians 9:6-10. What strikes me about this reading is the phrase “..for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Who are the cheerful givers in this world? It may surprise you, but they are not usually those with the most money, the most land, or the most material possessions. Cheerful givers are the people who have something someone else needs and give it to that person without counting the personal cost or sacrifice required. Does that sound crazy to you? Why would anyone give away something that results in the loss of a much needed possession, money, or capability? To understand, we need to examine our personal “Theology of Giving.”
A Theology of Giving is more commonly known as the Theology of Stewardship. Stewardship is what we do with our time, talent, and treasure (both money and possessions) in service to others. Everyone practices Stewardship to some degree. Simple things like buying Girl Scout cookies, Boy Scout Christmas wreaths and Little League popcorn fund raisers are examples of stewardship. At the next level, we make choices about what charities and non-profit organizations, including our parish church, we will support with our money, time and talents. But what St. Paul is talking about in today’s reading is the why behind our stewardship. How does our Catholic faith guide our stewardship? The why becomes our personal theology.
Why are we called to be “cheerful” givers? It begins with the fact that everything we have is a gift from God. Even our hard work, years of education, training and experience, and all the things that make it possible for us to acquire and achieve in this world are also gifts from God. Yes, we put in the effort. Yes, we reap “sparingly” or “bountifully” based on that effort. But everything is only possible by the grace God gives us.
If we understand that God is the true owner of everything we have, we are driven to seek God’s will in what to do with these gifts. God’s will is to care for others. Our stewardship is our response to God’s will. Giving becomes our loving response to God for all He has given us.
Are you a cheerful giver? Why? Is it because you are proud of your gifts, talents, and treasure? Or is it because you are thankful for all the blessings and gifts God has given you? Your “why” makes all the difference.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
What are the gifts you have been given by God that you are called to share with others?