There are many things that stand out regarding the life and work of Saint Nicholas. But the common thread throughout his righteous life is generosity. He simply chose to be generous. His wealthy parents died while he was young and he could have said to his soul, the way the rich man in the parable about the bigger barns does, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.” But Saint Nicholas took his money and set up orphanages, hospitals, hostels for the mentally ill, fed the starving in famine, and set up a drainage system so that his people would not die from the diseases incurred by poor hygiene and he freed captives unjustly imprisoned.
He is a great saint and probably one of the most beloved. But here is the punch line; he is no different than you or I. He was generous with what he had been given. Had he chosen to hold back we might not even know who he is. Everyone, no matter who they are or what they have, can be generous. Generosity is the sign of following Christ.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
Generosity is how we combat not trusting God with our hearts and wallets.
They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed. 1 Tim 6:18-19
Christmas is the story of God the Father’s generosity.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The best stories, the ones worthy of retelling, are the stories of generosity. What do you think? Can generosity ever become a habit that one can do without much struggle?
Regarding the title of this post: A little something about generosity sort of slipped out during my sermon yesterday. I always feel that this is the Holy Spirit highjacking the sermon. This blog is the “bonus” part of the sermon.