Sometimes a line, a phrase someone says or writes catches you and stays with you. Leo the Great, a pope in the church in the fifth century, preached a line that jumps out at me. He was attempting to encourage the people during the season of Lent, especially with regard to generosity in giving and caring for the poor.
“The giver of alms,” wrote Leo, “should be free from anxiety and full of joy.” Leo goes on to use the image of a farmer sowing. What good is holding back the seed, he ponders. Seed that doesn’t get tossed onto the soil produces nothing. But the sower reaps the benefits of the harvest – bread for him or herself and their family – to the extent that the seed is generously (dare we say lavishly?) spread abroad. So it is – or should be, says Leo – when it comes to taking care of those in need.
He goes on to make one more point in his sermon: Trust that God will provide the seed, reminding us of Paul’s teaching in II Corinthians 9:10 – Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
In essence, Leo is encouraging his people to get over worrying about whether there will be “enough”. Generosity, not hoarding, is what leads to freedom and joy.
Today, be joyfully generous … and free!
A blessed Tuesday.