I often tend to equate generosity to the giving of monetary and material goods. I envy other people’s generosity who give impressive amounts of money. Like Tevye, I sometimes lament: “If I were a rich man, I would build houses for the poor and schools for their children; I would build factories to give jobs to their fathers; etc. etc. etc. . . . ”
I also realize that when people are challenged to be generous, the easiest thing to give is money. Generosity is sharing the lot of the poor. People would gladly give a little bit of their money to avoid experiencing the squalor and filth of being poor. Generosity is being with another person who is in pain. People would rather give a small sum rather than spend their own time just being present to and consoling one who is in pain and with sorrow. Generosity is giving up one’s pleasures to help others in needs. How easy it is to give money to a cause for others to do the hard work and just feel good that one has done his share by simply giving a monetary contribution.
Generosity is not what comes from the hands. Generosity comes from the heart. If I am free and willing to give of my heart, then I can let go of whatever is in my hands. Generosity is first of the spirit and then of the mind and the hands.
The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.”