It’s always interesting to see how the lectionary readings develop themes and contrast examples to modern times. Take for example today’s lesson about being a “cheerful giver.” (God loves a cheerful giver, we are told.) We may think about our capital campaigns, other fundraising activities, or the passing of the plate in church services. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (9: 6-11) speaks of supplying seed to the sower and bread to the poor…A simpler time, same message. The important thing – also the same – is the attitude with which we give.
When Paul says that those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, he isn’t talking about seed any more, thus the reference to being cheerful in the giving. I am reminded by that of a poetic quote on a card that I received a very long time ago. It said, in part, ” Give it away, give it all away. Give life away. All…all is gift.” I see the gospel sower walking through a field made ready for seed. Smelling the newly turned soil and feeling the breeze and the warmth of the sun, I join that one with a full complement of seeds in my shoulder bag, reaching in and flinging the seed to the winds, enjoying the freedom of knowing that the harvest to come will help so many more people than myself – most especially the poor in our midst.
It’s that attitude that creates a generous spirit, I think. Letting go becomes the motivation. Bounty in God is the result.