“Each one should give as much as he decided, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I served as development director at a small women’s college for the last thirteen years of my full-time ministry. Like God, I loved a cheerful giver. Early on, I learned that it was not slick and colorful brochures that moved donors. What made a difference was their relationships, their fond memories of their college years, and the friendships they formed with their fellow students and faculty. It was relationships! That is what created the willingness or urge to give back.
We can take this into the theological and Scriptural arena and note very clearly that God was the one who created relationships, first with his creation and then with his people with whom he was always faithful. This relationship was manifested in the life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus, who called all women and men into a deeper relationship with the Father through him. Then in the fullness of time, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for our redemption. The Word, did not consider his divinity something to cling to, but emptied himself becoming like us.
Our relationship with Christ is shaped and formed by those we meet, those who are poor, sad, lost, and feel forgotten. Jesus chose to remain with us through the presence of the Spirit who animates us. He also remains with us the great prayer of the Eucharist in which he draws the community together and shapes them through Word and Sacrament. “Do this in memory of me.” We are to go forth from the Eucharist and continue to be his presence. The quality of our outreach brings great joy to God, who sees us as cheerful givers.
Let Us Pray:
O God, You created us out of your love, and You continue to invite us into a deeper and deeper relationship with You. We do that through prayer and contemplation, mainly manifesting Your love to Your sons and daughters on the periphery. Give us an abundance of your grace to be faithful to this mission. Amen.