The end of another year is quickly coming into view. His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah will be with us in a very short while to celebrate the nameday of our patron saint: Saint Spyridon and offer a blessing over the stewards of our parish.
As each of us spends time praying over the areas we each will belong, serve, and invest in the life of our parish, be encouraged if there is a struggle with in you. The discipline of giving of ourselves involves a similar discipline to that of our prayer lives. It requires regular attention.
St. Paul offers some words of encouragement to us in 2 Corinthians 9. He says: “So, let us each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver...Now He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”
In this passage, we recognize that God supplies even the seed we sow. The work we do each day and the virtues we express toward those around us all come from God. All returns on our investment are multiplied by God and belong wholly to Him. It is very easy to examine our bank accounts and think that we have done well or that we don’t have enough. It is far more challenging to see the connection between the heart and our generosity. Our Lord says in Matthew 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If the heart is consumed with earthly things, then our treasure will be invested in earthly things. On the other hand, if the heart is consumed with the Kingdom of Heaven, then our treasure will flow towards the work of the Kingdom.
As we journey together through the coming year, let us be mindful of these steps
God supplies the seed. Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no shadow of turning. He generously entrusts each of us with enough to begin a life of fruitfulness.
All fruit of our sowing belongs to God. This reminder is beneficial to keep in front of us lest our flesh begins to build a fortress of pride in the fruit we see in our lives.
Give constant careful attention to the attitudes of the heart as we give. God loves a cheerful giver. For some this may mean committing to specific areas of time, talent, and treasure before the new year begins. For others, this may require a daily examination to ensure the heart is in the right place.
May God grant each of us a cheerful heart, overflowing with joy for the work we are participating in here in our community.