A businessman sells some property for a nice profit. A woman retires from a 20-year career at age 43. A high school student discovers he has an exceptional talent for playing the piano. What do they have in common?
Each person has recently received a windfall — an unusually large gain of money, time, or talent. Now each must answer a question — what to do with this newfound gain?
The businessman, already somewhat financially successful, finds that the profit from the sale of rental property is unexpectedly large. For the first time, he feels an urge not to save it, but to share it. The next Sunday, even though he already contributes to his parish, he puts a larger sum in the offertory basket. He also knows of a local charity that supports low-income mothers, and mails them a generous donation.
After her retirement from the Air Force, a woman finds she has a large amount of time during the day. Her husband works full-time and her two children are in high school. She hears a quiet voice asking, “How can you give back for all that you have received?” She calls her pastor and explains that she has the time to play a significant role in a parish ministry. He asks her to re-invigorate their newcomer’s ministry and visit each new family, to which she happily agrees.
In his high school music class, a 10th-grader discovers an amazing talent to play piano. After encouragement from family and friends, he joins the ensemble at the Sunday morning Mass. He even volunteers to play at special functions at the parish when needed.
In all three cases, the businessman, retiree and student have received something of value, and have made deliberate choices to share it with others, particularly within their parish.
Of course, it could have been different. The businessman could have taken an especially extravagant vacation. The woman could have done any number of things with her free time (couldn’t we all?). The young pianist could have used his talent to form a band or make a recording. And the truth is that they can still do all those things. But having received such wonderful gifts, their gratitude compels them to share a portion of them. After all, what do they lose by sharing what was already a gift to them from God?
We’re all gifted and are called to share on a daily basis. But when the big blessings come, let’s pray for the grace to be even more generous than ever.