Today’s Readings: Amos 8:4-12; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Isaiah 12:2-6
One of the people that taught me a great deal about giving was a woman named Gretchen who belonged to one of the churches where I served as a student pastor during my seminary days.
Gretchen was a woman in her 50s who had a wonderfully loving and open spirit. She had been born with Downs Syndrome, and had had remarkable parents who encouraged her to develop her talents to the fullest. Consequently, Gretchen had spent years writing poetry and painting.
There was only one thing that Gretchen loved more than writing poetry and painting. That thing was sharing her poetry and paintings with others. Whenever she had the opportunity to share with others, Gretchen got the biggest smile on her face. Not once did she ever worry about whether or not her poetry or her art was good enough. She simply knew that she was sharing the things that mattered most. That brought her a great deal of joy.
While I wish I could say that it was easy for me to give of myself with that same sense of joy, often I get very self-conscious when it comes to my own giving. I sometimes worry about if what I am giving to God and to others is good enough. Consequently, I often cheat myself out of the opportunity to give from a place of joy.
Thankfully, I have individuals like Gretchen in my life – and passages like today’s from 2 Corinthians – to get me back on track. In today’s passage from 2 Corinthians, for instance, Paul wrote: “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 from The Message). So how would you characterize the place from which you give? Do you give from a place of inhabitation, obligation, or duty; or do you give from someplace else – a place of delight like Gretchen? Til next time…