EARTH: Learning Generosity by Francine Rivers

Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature

Learning Generosity by Francine Rivers

From: Earth Psalms

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Some years ago, we had a huge German Shepherd, Hercules, who was a full 125 pounds of muscle and energy and did not like to share his food. We fed him just outside the sliding-glass door on a large patio step to our deck, and sometimes he would leave a little food in his dish for later. One afternoon, a mouse showed up for dinner. Herk, trapped inside the house and forced to watch this rodent munch on his kibble, went wild. The mouse happily sat in the middle of Herk’s bowl and ate. (I think it had a smirk on its tiny face.)

Next meal, Herk ate every piece of kibble and licked the bowl clean.  He wasn’t about to let that mouse get so much as a nibble of his kibble.  He came back inside, pleased with himself.

The mouse returned, in search of another free meal.  Finding nothing, he looked through the window at Hercules, squatted, and left his business card in the middle of the bowl.

It wouldn’t have cost Hercules anything to share with the tiny mouse.  Herk had plenty of food, a roof over his head, and a family who loved him.  The little mouse only needed what amounted to one piece of kibble, but Herk never learned to share.  And the mouse, in his own defiant little way, made him pay.

When we have more than enough, are we willing to share with those less fortunate?  Or do we hold tight to what we have, jealous of any tiny morsel someone else might receive?

In 1 Timothy 6, the apostle Paul encourages the wealthy – and let’s face it, just about all of us fall into this category – to trust in God rather than in our possessions.  We need to be generous and ready to use our money to do good in the world.  That’s the only kind of investment that really counts.  The truth is, being generous changes our hearts.  When we loosen our grasp on our possessions, materialism loosens its grasp on us.  Let’s not be like Hercules, exhausting ourselves in our vigilance to hold on to everything we own.  Let’s find the freedom that comes from giving.

It is in the giving that we receive. (The Prayer of Saint Francis)

Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much. (Erich Fromm)


How have you experienced generosity from someone else?  How did it affect you?  Why do you think it is sometimes difficult for us to share?


Ask God to show you one way you can be generous this week, whether it’s with your time, money, or possessions.


Heavenly Father, I don’t want to be trapped by money and the things I own, always watching out to be sure that no one else gets part of my share.  I want to experience the true life that comes from being generous and holding my possessions loosely.  Please help me to share with others, knowing that ultimately, everything I have comes from you.

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
(Psalm 112:5)

2 Comments on EARTH: Learning Generosity by Francine Rivers

  1. Very well said – materialism is a sickness that pervades society – we are in need of a doctor!


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