Sam Benedict has finished his service to our Finance Council both as Chair and member. We owe a debt of gratitude to Sam for his many years of service both as trustee and on the Finance Council (formerly Administrative Services Commission). Thank you and God bless! Please see Finance Council news for a leadership update.
Today I would like to comment on our first reading from 2 Kings. Elisha is a wandering prophet who accepts the invitation from an “influential woman” to dine with her family (remember, in that culture, to accept an invitation to eat with someone was to identify closely with that person) and gets into the habit of dining there when he was in town. She finally decides to set up a room for him, so that he would have a secure place to sleep when he came to the town. Elisha appreciates the hospitality and asks a servant if there is anything he can do for her. The servant says that she has no son and she and her husband are getting older (since they did not believe in an afterlife, immortality was obtained through a son who carried on the name). Elisha tells her that, when he visits in a year, she will have a son.
There is no indication at all that the woman was hospitable to Elisha to get something out of him. She was simply a hospitable person who reached out to support whom she calls “a holy man of God.” But her reward was great, beyond imagination!
God has given us many gifts. Among them are time and the ability to do things. We are called to reach out to others and be generous with our time and abilities, not to get something back from God, but in gratitude for what we have been given. And yet, even though we share for altruistic reasons, so often God gives us so much more.
One example: visiting an elderly and/or homebound person. My personal experience is that the gift of a visit and just spending time listening and talking and being is worth more to an isolated person than a million dollars. It costs a little time and effort but gives so much to the other. And, unexpectedly, to me: sometimes I go to visit out of duty and feeling very tired, but leave with an energy and sense of meaningfulness that propels me though difficult meetings and situations. Isn’t that a gift from God for generosity? Not as “dramatic” as having a son in old age, but a gift just as well.
As we go about our lives this week, I invite us to reflect on how generous we are at sharing our time, talent, and treasure with others, asking God to help us grow in generosity!