Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes

14 Jun

maryGood morning friends,

I wanted to share a joyous celebration that was given to me.  On Saturday my Garfield church was having a Father’s Day BBQ/potluck meal.  The sweet folks turned it into also a early 60th birthday party for me.  It was so much fun, as you can see from the photo. (Just once I would like to look like a size 8 or even a 10. . )

I also wanted to continue with the Gospel of Mark.   We are in the fourth chapter and Jesus trying to explain the spread of the Good News, tells the parable of the seed sower.    You probably know this story, but I invited you to read it again as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson.

1-2 He went back to teaching by the sea. A crowd built up to such a great size that he had to get into an offshore boat, using the boat as a pulpit as the people pushed to the water’s edge. He taught by using stories, many stories.

3-8 “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

10-12 When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people—

Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.”

13 He continued, “Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way.

14-15 “The farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.

16-17 “And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

18-19 “The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.

20 “But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.”

21-22 Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.

23 “Are you listening to this? Really listening?

24-25 “Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.”

I remember one of the times I read this story and realized that it is not my responsibility to make sure that anyone receives the great news of God’s love, I just have to share what God has done in my life.

As I close in on celebrating 60 years, I am so thankful that I grew up in church and that my spirit was receptive to the wonders of the Divine Presence.  I encourage anyone of reads my blog to remember, we are not here to judge anyone, we are not here to force anyone to believe as we might believe, but just to live in a way to show the amazing power of God’s grace.

Generosity begets generosity, Stinginess improverishes


2 Responses to “Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger June 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    Really, really cute photo!

  2. Annie Kronk June 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    While I love the language in traditional Bible translations, I find that I seem to comprehend more easily and readily when I also read The Message. Peterson’s contemporary approach grabs me, and I “get” it almost right away, since I don’t have to spend time analyzing words. This parable of the seed sower is a case in point.

    I too am grateful to have grown up in a church-going family, with a Mom who was a true believer; and I learned early on that kindness is returned, smiles are contagious, generosity begets generosity, and unheralded gifts are returned times ten. While it’s difficult to live without judging, it’s a worthy goal….and I’m still working toward it. God is not through with me, not just yet, but I love being a work in progress!

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