A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a one-dollar and a five-dollar bill for church. “Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself,” she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. “Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the five-dollar, but just before the collection the priest said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the one dollar and so I did!”
Our original sin polluted nature hates giving. It tends to measure carefully our open-handedness. This is why this corrupt nature needs to be recreated, Christianity says. And all this for our benefit! My pastor in Canada was inspired once to put up this big poster in our Church’s lobby, “I have tried to keep things in my hands and lost them all, but what I have given into God’s hands I still possess.”
The truth is the more we give, the more we receive. “How is it that the more I give in charity, the more I have?” asked a puzzled Christian. The answer of the catechist was disarming. “Oh, as we shovel money out, He shovels it in, and the Lord has a bigger shovel!”
And we feel lighter! In his book of sermons The Living Faith, Lloyd C. Douglas tells the story of Thomas Hearne, who, in his journey to the mouth of the Coppermine River in Canada, wrote that a few days after they had started on their expedition, a party of Indians stole most of their supplies. His comment on the apparent misfortune was: “The weight of our baggage being so much lightened, our next day’s journey was more swift and pleasant.” Life can be seen from different angles.
This couple gave a sizeable contribution to their Church to honor the honor of their son who had just been killed in an accident. When the announcement was made in Church, the wife whispered to her husband, “Why don’t we give the same amount in honor of each of the boys?” The husband looked at her and said, “What are you talking about? Our three children are still alive. Why should we honor their memory?!” “Exactly!’ said the woman, “Let us give the money as an expression of our gratitude for keeping them safe!”
“Give, give, give… Nothing but giving! I am tired of giving,” complained the man. “Okay,” answered the angel. Let us make a deal! The moment God stops giving to you, you stop giving to others!”
Let us put everything in perspective. When we give, the benefits are three-dimensional! It helps those in need. It inspires others to give. It forms an inner character in the giver – one marked by less egotism and fewer materialistic tendencies and enhanced awareness of other people.
Buddha is quoted to have said, “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
After all, let us be real, those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.