The two pillars that Matthew Kelly says make Christians different from the rest of the world are generosity and forgiveness. This week I want to focus on generosity. Not that type of generosity that seeks, “what can I really get out of this action?” and rather an action that is truly focused on the best of the other person.
Before we look to the other, I think its crucial to take a hard look at ourselves. Right before I started this Lenten series, I asked that we focus on three questions: how/where is your heart currently? (basically, taking an honest look at your spiritual life), where are you going? (what are you working towards), where do you want to go? (the difference between achieving the best version of yourself and where you are right now). I feel generosity needs to start from within us. I think so often I am looking for generosity from other people, or from the outside world. Sometimes I even wonder why I’m going through a period of not seeing or sharing any generosity in my life. Although in these instances I often point the finger at the world and others, I need to remember that, at the same time, I have three fingers pointing back to myself. I personally think generosity begins with our striving to become the best version of yourself. As we strive to become the person God is calling you to be, at the present moment, generosity from God and from others will start to overflow.
Now that we know to take an honest look at ourselves first, we can come to realize the abundant generosity from God and others. I heard from a priest recently who spoke about living in the imperfect present. Not the idealized future, or the broken present, but rather making a renewed commitment to the imperfect present. So often I find myself wishing I could relive some of those great memories in the past, or rather, look ahead to all the great things I think God has planned for me. Through all of this, I come to lose sight of what God has planned for me in the here and now! I can’t stop thinking about the imperfect present, and how often I seek to move beyond the present to find hope or joy. Ultimately, God is always found in the here and now. We are called to live each moment passionately with God.
I witnessed a moment of generosity from one of my co-workers at Roche Bros. During one of the wild blizzards, Tom walked by me drenched with water after pushing the carts in the snow. It was near the end of our day, and he was carrying around a long broom. I asked him why he would need a broom when there was a snowstorm outside. Tom told me it’s his tradition that he shovels off a few of the older cashier’s cars so that they can get off on time after work. Now that is generosity. My friend Tom could have just pushed carts all day and then left after a long day working out in the blizzard conditions. However, he chose to act beyond himself to make sure those workers that have supported him through the many years could get home safely and without delay. God works miracles in us and around us everyday. My prayer for myself, and for you today, is to be open to God working in the here and now. He is in the homeless person, he is in our children and he is in the cashier at the grocery store. Continuing to build a personal relationship with Jesus changes our priorities by elevating them. His friendship can change the way we live and who we become. Most importantly, a friendship with Jesus will make you a more generous person, and also more open to receiving His generosity.
On another note, I want to thank you for your comments on the columns. I appreciate every one! I also want to thank you for continually supporting the mission program. Your generosity makes serving the poor and spreading even more generosity possible. I thank you for being a missionary of generosity, and I look forward to working with you in the imperfect present to bring God’s kingdom here on earth.