Pentecost +5 - Year B
Which comes first - chicken or egg? Faith or Generosity? Do you think yourself into being generous or act your way into faith? Of course, both/and is usually a safe response.
Don’t you love the various translations:
You excel in ... our love for you - [NRSV]
You do well ... you love us - [Message]
This variation is of course done to test the genuineness of your incoming and outgoing love ratio and your generous sense of ambiguity.
Imagine Jesus’ healings in light of some “fair balance” - for every unexpected healing there is an equally unexpected death or disaster.
All in all, an appeal for generosity in resources is probably best responded to by pats on the back. The early Methodists, working among those impoverished by the transition to an industrial revolution, knew that no one was too poor to participate in an offering for the poor. Everyone can excel in generosity and so that may be an excellent spot to start a conversation about what is trustworthy. It turns out that nothing is trustworthy, particularly wealth, so being generous for one’s own pleasure is a good thing.
For those interested in such things, a book from the early 1990’s might be worth the read. It’s subtitle is “Choosing Service Over Self-Interest” and the simple title is Stewardship by Peter Block. Shoot an arrow of generosity into the universe and it will find its mark.