On Giving

Luke 21: 1-4
Dn 1:1-6,8-20 / Dn 3

…she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.
(Luke 21:4)

What grace from God have we been given
That shows our close affinity
To Him as His beloved children?
It’s His gift of generosity.

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small coins. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their offerings out of their surplus wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

Reflection

There are two reasons we can think of why the widow decided to part with her last two coins. The first is out of gratitude. In spite of her poverty, she wanted to express her gratitude to God for some blessing(s) that she might have received. The other reason is her strong faith. She firmly believed that by giving everything to God, He would surely reciprocate her sacrifice by giving back to her ten times or even more than what she had surrendered. She had complete faith in God’s providence and generosity.

The widow’s contribution demonstrates the lesson that our Lord is imparting, that it is not so much what we give that counts, but what we are willing to give up. It is always the spirit behind our giving that gives our gift its worth. It doesn’t matter whether we are rich or poor, we must never neglect our obligation to support our church, as the widow did for her temple. The amount is not as important as the sincerity of our intention. We must give with total trust in the Lord’s Providence, believing that the cornucopia of God’s bounty will always be available to us. If we really have genuine faith in God, then we should have no doubt that He will open the floodgates of heaven to fill all our needs.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also get a generous harvest. God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” We must also remember that it is by being generous to those who are in need that we may be God’s answer to their prayers.

Khalil Gibran wrote so poignantly about giving. He said, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Money or other material things are not as important as the gifts that cannot be seen, like one’s consoling presence in a friend’s time of grief, sincere compliments or a timely advice, or even prayers offered for healing.

A gift given by a friend becomes more valuable than when he bought it from a store. I once recommended a group looking for a race organizer to my friend who recently set up his own events organizing business. After the “funrun” event, my friend surprised me with a gift, a branded singlet that he bought from a sports store, in appreciation for my recommendation. I put it on and it was a perfect fit! It has become my favorite singlet that I use only in special funruns or races. Gifts are truly important in developing genuine friendships.

Lord, may the words of St. Paul apply in all our dealings: “The One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor. 9:10) Amen.

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