There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. (Proverbs 11:24-26)
True Christian love taps into the ocean of God’s love and thus is not emptied or exhausted as it is freely given to others. There is always plenty more love where it came from – actually an infinite love. It is the person who withholds love who depletes his supply. Generosity is a Christian virtue which not only helps others but also results in much thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:10-15).
As children of the darkness that rules through fear, self-interest, greed, and power, our great motivators are survival and self-preservation. But as children of the light who know that perfect love casts out all fear, it becomes possible to give away all that we have for others. As children of the light, we prepare ourselves to become true martyrs: people who witness with their whole lives to the unlimited love of God. Giving all thus becomes gaining all. Jesus expresses this clearly as he says: “Anyone who loses his life for my sake…will save it.” Every time I take a step in the direction of generosity, I know that I am moving from fear to love. But these steps, certainly at first, are hard to take because there are so many emotions and feelings that hold me back from freely giving.
Why should I give energy, time, money, and yes, even attention to someone who has offended me? Why should I share my life with someone who has shown no respect for it? I might be willing to forgive, but to give on top of that! Still…the truth is that, in a spiritual sense, the one who has offended me belongs to my “kin,” my “gen.” The word “generosity” includes the term “gen” which we also find in the words “gender,” “generation,” and “generativity.” This term, from the Latin genus and the Greek genos, refers to our being of one kind. Generosity is a giving that comes from the knowledge of that intimate bond. True generosity is acting on the truth – not on the feeling – that those I am asked to forgive are “kinfolk,” and belong to my family. And whenever I act this way, that truth will become more visible to me. Generosity creates the family it believes in. (Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son, p 131)
The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)