The Cheerful Giver

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

The Cheerful Giver

The Torah and Haftorah readings this week are about making and creating things. Read carefully and there is a special message that is universal truth borne out by history hundreds of times: giving by freewill of your skills, your tools and your resources (including money) produces its own good results. 

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

It strikes me as odd that the very people who speak of the scriptures, the Bible, the Torah and the Koran, are often the same people who take the arrogant position that only they should decide who gets charity or assistance in times of need. This appears to be the position of the “righteous, or right-wing conservative”. 

This position is not righteousness, it is egotism. It also is ideology assuming the role of the adversary of Truth.  “Money bestowed in charity, may to the carnal mind seem thrown away, but when given from proper principles, it is seed sown, from which a valuable increase may be expected. It should be given carefully. Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought and design. Due thought, as to our circumstances, and those we are about to relieve, will direct our gifts for charitable uses. Help should be given freely, be it more or less; not grudgingly, but cheerfully.”

It is the poor and disadvantaged in our society who represent the purest soil to sow future benefits to our society. Opposition to secular policies that tend to redistribution of wealth on an even basis is flawed ideologically, religiously and practically. 

Opposition to government is mindless ideology, seeking to remove the referee, however imperfect it might be, between the followers of human nature who seek to accumulate great wealth at any cost, and the followers of the heart who seek a peaceful life of contentment.

Those who would replace most government policies with religious “principles” are coding their own ambitions to eliminate democratic principles and place themselves in despotic positions of power wherein a small group of people (usually white males) issue edicts on what is right and what is wrong, who can speak and who cannot, who is good and who is bad. 

It is the personal, greedy ambitions of the religious fundamentalists masking themselves with righteousness. Scott Peck had a name for them — “People of the Lie.” 

There is no difference for us whether we follow the ambitions of the those who hide behind religion or we follow the ambitions of those who hide behind some political ideology. 

Both require suspension of independent judgment. Both require that our society withhold proper education that would encourage independent, creative and innovative thought. 

Both appeal to our innate somewhat lazy wish to delegate the functions of governing our daily behavior to others who are “more suited.” 

The fact is that only one person can govern your behavior and decide between right and wrong in what you do or are about to do, about what you say or are about to say, about how you do charitable things and how you withhold charitable activities. 

That person is you, in the context of an ever-present higher form of intelligence and judgment. And the paradox is that by submission to a higher authority you regain and build upon your personal power — as long as you submit not to a human person but rather to a spiritual ideal.

Following your own sense and sensibility will result in reconstruction of the Temple, renewal of the Tabernacle, and finding the Ark. Each person carries that sacred duty to themselves, their family, their friends and their society.


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