A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Grudging and Generous Giving

Posted on: November 2, 2015

Halloween candy haul

My son on Halloween 2006. My grandfather would not have known what to make of this candy haul…

My paternal grandfather was not known for being a generous man.

To give an example, he handed out candy for us one Halloween so that my mother could take us trick-or-treating while my father was out of town. Judging by the amount of candy left in the bowls, Mom realized he gave each child just one piece of candy. He figured that the trick-or-treaters shouldn’t get something for nothing.

Not surprisingly, our front door was egged.

We need to learn how to strike a balance between not depriving ourselves and not being stingy toward others. Read these words from Sirach 14:3-8*:

Riches are not seemly for a stingy man; and of what use is property to an envious man?

Whoever accumulates by depriving himself, accumulates for others; and others will live in luxury on his goods.

If a man is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous? He will not enjoy his own riches.

No one is meaner than the man who is grudging to himself, and this is the retribution for his baseness;

even if he does good, he does it unintentionally, and betrays his baseness in the end.

Evil is the man with a grudging eye; he averts his face and disregards people.

We don’t need to have everything our hearts desire, but if we’re unwilling to take care of our own needs, will we find it in ourselves to be generous toward others with our time, talents and money? Do we want to do good only in an unintentional way?

If we don’t have a family budget, now may be the time to sit down and create one. Having a better idea of our income and expenses can show us where we have room to be generous with gifts and with donations to causes that matter to us, such as parish outreach programs, community foundations, or health-related or environmental causes.

And if we find that funds are tight, we can still be generous with our time and talents in ways such as these:

  • helping children learn to read through an afterschool program
  • sharing our craft, technological, culinary or other skills with a school or youth group
  • walking dogs or fostering a cat for the local animal shelter
  • fostering a future guide dog
  • distributing groceries at the community or parish food bank
  • preparing food at a soup kitchen with a parish group
  • visiting residents in nursing homes
  • selling poppies for Remembrance Day
  • serving as a lector, greeter, or children’s liturgy leader in our parish

I pray that God would help us learn to better share, with an open and generous heart, the blessings he has given each of us.

Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.

~ 2 Corinithians 9:7-8

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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