On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life -Part 149: Joys of Generosity (6/4/17)

“What does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?.” (Mark 8:36 RSV)

St. Gregory of Nazianzen states, “Let everyone bring to God what fruits he can, at all times, at every turn of life and its events, to the measure of his ability according to the gifts he has been given.”  There is a joy in being generous and after all is not generosity one of the virtues. And, according to St. Gregory of Nyssa, if you possess one virtue then you possess them all, they are linked.  Likewise possessing one passion will lead to the others.

 In Proverbs 11:24, we read, “one man gives, yet grows richer.”  When sharing the gifts God has given you in gratitude, God receives those gifts and returns them in greater abundance.  That does not mean that you should endeavor to give back for the purpose of receiving more.  That is an improper motive and no joy will come of it.  The joy in giving is that the riches you were gifted with do not govern your life.  An abundant life that is free from greed, that you are not possessed by them, gives you freedom and joy and your life is at peace.

Joy also comes from not being concerned about your future.  God has blessed you richly and has taken care of you.  You are able to live a virtuous life, thinking of others before yourself, because you know that God will continue to take care of you.  He will provide for all your needs and He will do this because you are leading a virtuous life, a life led in gratitude for all that He has given you.

To the contrary, those who do not share the gifts that God has given them, will not only forfeit what He has gifted them, they will live in constant torment and fear of the loss of their possessions, relationship and even their life.

Christ commanded us to “love” our neighbors as He has loved us.  Christ is talking about that true kenotic, self-emptying love whereby we would give all we have for the benefit our neighbor as Christ gave to us.  That is real joy.  It is always good to receive but the joy in giving, in sharing, in participation of the life of another is one of the greatest joys of this world.

Be a good steward and experience the joy of giving and sharing with God and the body of Christ.

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.

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