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Lent 8

“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4)

There has been a lot of talk about giving in our church lately; how people give, why they give, how giving is a reflection of others things going on in our lives. Much of the conversation is prompted by finances. But giving is about more than money. It’s about freedom; radical freedom.

There is no greater act of subversion than to give with an open heart. You can’t tax it, regulate it, no government can control it, you don’t need a license for it, you’ll never run out of it, and when you lose it somehow, by grace, it’s always returned to you.

Jesus once said to his followers, “When someone strikes you, turn the other cheek. If someone asks you to walk a mile with him, walk two. If someone asks for your coat, give him your cloak as well.”  Don’t just give, give generously.

When we hold on to things, or give only out of duty, or begrudgingly, or only when get our own way, then we are kept small and cut ourselves off from the great joy God blesses to us in the simple act of giving.

A wise person in our congregation recently shared this thought with me. “What ever it is you need or seek, be it money, or time, or love, or charity, or friendship, whatever it is you are seeking – give that, and God will return it to you a thousand-fold.”

The illusion is that we can find, build, accumulate for ourselves that which can truly make us happy. Faith is knowing true happiness comes when we give our whole selves away to and for another.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your generosity in my life. Thank you for giving me your most precious gift, your Son, who died and rose for me. Shatter all that keeps me from giving and loving generously, that by the working of your Spirit I may be more like Jesus, who knew the true freedom of living for giving.  Amen

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