Generosity is not


Generosity is not measured by what we have or how much we give but by the amount of love enshrined in what we give.

While working in a women’s ministry, I had a life-changing encounter on what it means to give without expecting anything in return. I have not forgotten my encounter with Angela who was a member of our Small Christian Community (SCC). Angela was a middle-aged widow, who lived in what the UN defined as abject poverty. She seemed happy with her life even though she struggled to get a meal for her four children.

                                                            AMECEA image for SCC 


The visit was intended to check on Angela’s whereabouts. She made a fancy meal for me.  At the end of the meal, it was time for Angela to bid me goodbye. Angela sent her older son (17 years) for something I did not know. It was a roaster and some eggs for me. I tried to make her understand that she needed the eggs more than I did, but she remained excited that she had something to offer her visitor. In her own words, she said “there is always plenty for everyone. We don’t run out for being generous. If we don’t give, we don’t create room to receive.” Partly, this was a cultural practice that required visitors to be given a good send-off. Perhaps one of the qualities which speak of the nature of God in contemporary life.

As I enter into this lent period, I reflect on generosity in line with my encounter with Angela. Generosity is an inward act of love that does not depend on what we own but, on the love, we carry with us as we give. As such, generosity should not be a seasonal thing (lived in Lenten season) but throughout our life. Saint Paul reminds in 1 Cor 13:2 “if I have a faith that can move mountains, but does not have love, I am nothing.”This generosity is not limited to material possession, but as far as the prayers we offer for others, the quality time we offer to those who lack anyone to listen to them. As far as the sacrifices we do out of love for our mother nature. Precisely, there is no single way to be generous. However, there is one best way to get it done: when it is done out of love.

May this Lenten season be a moment to contemplate in which areas we are being called to be generous and share the gift of ourselves with others.