Wednesday, June 19, 2013

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

Brothers and sisters, consider this:  whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory. (Psalm 112:9)


Lord, all I have and am comes from you.  Help me to share the abundance of your good gifts with others.


In today’s first reading, St. Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth about being generous to their brother and sister Christians in Jerusalem, who are in great need.  He goes on from there to expand on giving in general and makes the statement that God loves a cheerful giver.  But how does a person become a cheerful giver?  

Certainly not by listening to the messages propagated by our consumer-oriented society.  We’re constantly being lured to buy more, accumulate more, build bigger houses, purchase fancier cars.  According to the commercials and ads that saturate our TV networks, emails and web sites, we can never have enough, whether it’s beauty, youth, possessions, prestige, or money.  If this is the message our hearts take in, we’ll never become cheerful givers.  We’ll always be reluctant to give anything to anyone else, because what if we then don’t have enough for ourselves?  Over time, the concept of “enough” has become totally distorted.   “Enough” is having what we need, but our minds have been brainwashed into confusing our needs with our wants.  Unfortunately, many people make their way through life with this scarcity mentality.

The secret to being a cheerful giver is to tune out the media hype and, instead, reflect on the overwhelming love God has for us and how generously God has blessed us.  One of the prayer practices that St. Ignatius of Loyola recommended is a daily examen.  (For more information on this type of prayer, you can go to  Once we have consciously put ourselves in God’s presence, St. Ignatius says we should review our day with gratitude or thanksgiving.  No matter how bad our day has been, we can always find some small thing to be grateful for.  When we do this prayer review day in and day out, the small things begin to add up.  Over time, we begin to realize how truly blessed we are by the Lord.  We begin to see and feel the abundance of grace Paul talks about.  When we know we’re overflowing with good things, we find ourselves wanting to share out of that abundance.  At that point, being a cheerful giver comes naturally.  It’s just the opposite of having a scarcity mindset. 


Take a few minutes this evening to review your day with the Lord.  Particularly, spend time looking for the things for which you can be grateful – the child who told you she loves you, a co-worker who had a few kind words for you, the driver who let you into the lane you needed to be in on the Beltway, the friend who called just to say hello and see how you’re doing.  When you look hard enough, life is full of small blessings and God is in all of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have this quote hanging by my desk at work:
"Imagine waking up tomorrow and only having what you thanked God for today"
It amazes me every evening when I start thanking God and my list just keeps on going and going and going....