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(Part 37)


June 17, 2015

Today’s readings:
2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Psalm 112:1-9
Matthew 6:1-18

The one who gives will receive. And receive abundantly. “Consider this:” (2 Cor 9:6a).

  • “whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Cor 9:6c). You reap what you sow. If you give generously, you will reap abundance. The converse is also true (2 Cor 9:6b)
  • “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8). Note that abundance is in all things­material, emotional as well as spiritual. Note also that in giving, you will not be deprived and so will not be lacking in any need. “No one in need” applies to you, the giver, as well.
  • God “will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor 9:10b). You will never run short, since God Himself gives the provisions you need, including what you give away. God does not just add or restore, but multiplies!
  • “You are being enriched in every way for all generosity” (2 Cor 9:11a).

There is one important principle, however. Do not give for show. “But take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (Mt 6:1a). Do not do good in order to be extolled, recognized, rewarded, awarded, admired, lifted up in stature. “Otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” (Mt 6:1b). You may have the admiration of humans and of the world, but not from God.

So when we do help the poor, how should we do so? “When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others.” (Mt 6:2a). They are hypocrites because they do good not out of love for the poor but out of a desire to be praised and admired. If we truly wanted just to help the poor, then we do our work quietly, without much fanfare, so that only God and the poor will know. Otherwise, we can deprive ourselves of what we can receive from God. “Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Mt 6:2b).

Jesus stresses the point. “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Mt 6:3-4). Whom should we want approval from­the world or God? Who would we trust in to render to us the greater and more desirable reward­the world or God?

Oftentimes, in our almsgiving or work with the poor, we only see and consider the poor and the world. But beyond them there is God. And God is very concerned with the poor. God sends us to bring glad tidings to the poor. Our relationship with God and our blessings that come from God are intimately connected with our work with the poor.

It is not easy to work with the poor. But we must see the privilege and blessings that are there, coming from God. We must freely and joyfully engage in the work. “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7).

Giving results in receiving. “Lavishly he gives to the poor; his righteousness shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in honor.” (Ps 112:9). In serving God by serving the poor, we reap the harvest of righteousness and a life of vitality and honor.

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