St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

Love Generously

Posted by The Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet on

Dear Friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you and those you pray for in good health and spirits.

I want to invite you to give thanks to God when you wake up and before bedtime, each and every day. And see how your heart, mind, and life are changed.

We know that the source of all love is God, made manifest in Jesus Christ. And we know, through God’s word (scripture) and the gift of the Holy Spirit (God’s steadfast presence in our hearts and daily lives), that God’s love is never-ending. Even when we sin or deny God or Jesus, God loves us and yearns for our return.

So what, I wonder, is the source of generosity? It is a heart full of gratitude to God.

What does generosity look like? It’s different from giving and donating. Nor is it the same as giving for personal gain.

Sometimes an act of generosity is clear and obvious. Earlier this year, during a commencement speech at Morehouse College, Robert F. Smith announced that “on behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus.” He pledged to donate $40 million to pay off the debt of the 2019 graduating class.

I dream of being able to be that generous to that many people—especially those I do not know. Don’t you? But it doesn’t take $40 million. I have the privilege of witnessing generosity daily, with my own eyes:

  • An office volunteer who literally gave the shoes off her feet to a woman found in distress on our property
  • People who have given countless hours each week, for decades, at the thrift shop
  • A family who birthed a child for a relative (we baptized the baby girl)
  • A preschool parent who cares for another child whose parents sometimes feel overwhelmed
  • A company founder who turned over ownership/future equity to employees
  • A family business that, before closing its doors due to poor sales, ensured it had enough cash to triple every employee’s stock/retirement account
  • A person who weeds the church’s gardens, alone
  • A youth helping another youth with homework at youth group
  • A homeless person volunteering in one of our ministries

Generosity is more than volunteering or giving of time, talent, and treasure. It’s an indicator of the fullness of one’s heart, of gratitude to God. When I give thanks to God each morning and each night, I can give more generously from my heart to others, and to you.

The crux is this—to give thanks to God as you engage in your faith journey, so you can witness (or hear a witness) to God at work, even in the face of all life’s trials, both yours and others’.

Pray for me, as I pray for you. Pray that I may be able to see Jesus, even when the world seems dark and the pain and suffering are overwhelming. And pray that when I can’t see or claim the power of God’s love, God will send people into my life who will show it to me.