Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and He said to him, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your property and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions.
The poor man had a very specific routine every Sunday morning. He did not have much to give, and that made it very difficult for him to give as much as he knew he should. Every little bit meant so much. So, every Sunday morning he arrived at church with his offering envelope already filled and sealed but not labeled at all. He did not want anyone to know how little was in there. What he never knew was that the rich man at the other end of the row followed the same routine. That man had very much to give, but for other reasons also had a hard time parting with his money. He would tell people that he gave anonymously so that he would not receive credit for his generosity, but he was avoiding shame as well.
Giving can be difficult for anyone. We may have an easy time understanding why someone with very little would be hesitant to part with what they have. It may be more difficult for us to understand this attitude when the giver has more than enough. If we surveyed the entire economic spectrum of the Church, I think we would find people in every tax bracket who find giving a challenge. The world greatly values ownership and personal financial progress, and we are fed those messages from an early age. Whether someone has very little or very much, a common approach is to gain as much as possible and hold on to it for as long as possible. No matter who you are or what you have, it will take some growth and change to be a happy giver.
If generosity is something that has come easily to you during this process of sanctification, it is only by the grace of God. We cannot expect the same ease to be everyone’s experience. If you have found it difficult to be generous, please have grace for yourself. Have the same grace that you would have for another who is working through this, too. We also cannot expect anyone to be generous simply because of their financial position. There are many reasons people have difficulty with generosity. If this is difficult for you, know that you are not alone in this. God must develop this discipline in all. Father, give us grace with ourselves and with one another regarding our generosity, and help us allow You to make us into happy givers.