Generosity

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Contributing Writer
Rev. Luke F. Fodor
Saint Luke’s Church

Fall always seems like one of the most generous times of the year. When I go to the Farmer’s Market I am overwhelmed with the abundance of fall harvest: apples, squash, brussels sprouts and still what remains of the summer harvest: potatoes, onions, beets and carrots. It make me think about my own generosity.

I recently stumbled across shared this Zen Buddhist Koan: “Long ago, a monk received a large donation from a rich merchant to build a temple. The donor is confused when the monk doesn’t thank him and approaches the monk about it: “this is a large sum of money, even for me. Why do you not show any thanks?” The monk replies, “why should I? The giver should be thankful.”

I find this story compelling because it cuts across our normal expectations. When were little we anxiously look forward to our birthdays and holidays, imagining the gifts we will receive. And yet as we age, we look forward to these holidays not so they will receive, but so that we can give. This story reminds us that we are able to set the conditions of our life. The thankful giver is a thankful liver.

What are you holding back? What do you secretly expect that is getting in the way of abundant life? Maybe it is our expectations that create very limitations that make some first and others last.

It reminds me sentiment that the Lebanese-American poet, Kahlil Gibran, expresses in his book The Prophet:

You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.” The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. […]
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life—while you, who deem yourself a giver, you are but a witness.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Faithfully,
Luke

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