October 25, 2020
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’….And … ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matthew 22:36-39
By Rob Townes
There’s a saying that the chicken who lays an egg makes a contribution, but the chicken who makes a sandwich offers a sacrifice. One could say that Jesus was alluding to the latter when he responded to the question as to which was the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all of who you are.” He was asking for more than a contribution; he was asking for the sacrifice of our all.
As the Latin root of the word suggests, a sacrifice — a sacrum facere — makes one holy. Giving generously of that of which you are a steward — your heart, soul, mind and all your possessions — is life giving. And it is countercultural. As the bumper sticker declares, “S/He who dies with the most toys wins.” That’s a powerfully seductive statement. Only with God’s help can we avoid being allured into thinking that it is in acquiring possessions that our life gains meaning. May we grow in the wisdom that a rich life results in trusting that it is in God we live and move and have our being.
This reflection is written while visiting Green Bough House of Prayer in Scott, Georgia. Here the three residents, with the company of 77 associates, have dedicated their lives, their all, to God and have taken on a Rule of Life to embrace silence, prayer, simplicity and living in the present moment, and accept all as coming from God. Do all for God. Offer all to God. This to me is a beautiful example of Faith-Filled Generosity.
Very few members of the Church dedicate themselves to full-time contemplative living, but all of us are invited to learn to live Jesus’ greatest commandment, trusting that in so doing, Faith-Filled Generosity will flourish in our lives.
As we move back into our church buildings, remembering only too well the COVID-19-caused absence of normalcy, may we re-enter with a renewed commitment to freely giving our all to God and faithfully loving our neighbors as ourselves.