Fr. Roy Cimagala .
YES, generosity is a matter of the heart more than a question of some amount and figures. A truly generous person gives his whole heart to God in all his dealings, regardless of whether the amount involved is big or small. What is essential is that he corresponds to that basic will of God as expressed in the Book of Proverbs: “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.” (23,26)
In fact, this basic will of God was reiterated by Christ when he was asked what the greatest commandment was. “You shall love the Lord your God,” he said, “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mt 22,37) A truly generous person gives his heart to God whole and entire, not in halves or in parts.
It is worthwhile to note that there is a close correlation between giving our heart to God and delighting in the ways of God, as said in the above-mentioned passage from the Book of Proverbs.
The reason many people today are not happy with God’s will and ways is because they have not given their hearts to God. They cannot find joy in the will and ways of God.
Hearts that are not fully given to God will always be burdened and tied down by earthly things. Remember Christ saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter heaven.” (Mt 19,24) But hearts that are fully given to God will always feel light, capable of soaring high in spite of the weight of our earthly affairs.
This giving of the heart to God has been typified by Abel, for example, who offered the best things of his crop to God—“fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock”—as compared to Cain who only gave some of the fruits of his field. Abel gave the best of what he was taking care of, while Cain gave only a portion of his. (cfr Gen 4)
Another example is that of the poor widow who put in the last two small copper coins she had to live on as compared to the many rich men who put in large amounts that were just a portion of their wealth. (cfr Mk 12,41-44)
The poor widow showed greater generosity because with the two small coins she offered, she actually offered her whole heart, since those coins represented her whole life.
We need to see the intimate relation between true Christian poverty and generosity. Both are a matter of the heart. They involve the giving of one’s whole heart to God, convinced of the truthfulness of Christ’s assurances.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” Christ said, “and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mt 6,33)
And in another occasion, he said: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or field for the sake of my name will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19,29)
Let’s always remember that God cannot be outdone in generosity. The more generous we are with him, much more will he be generous with us. It’s always a good deal and, in fact, the best investment with the highest dividends, if we have to use some business terms.
The effect of this intriguing and seemingly contrasting character of the relation between giving one’s heart and generosity has been described by St. Paul in the following words: “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. Poor, yet making many rich. Having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Cor 6,10)
We need to do everything to give our whole heart to God. Everyday we have to ask ourselves: “What still do I need to give to God today, such that I am left with nothing in order to have everything?”