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West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church

In giving, we make a big difference to others. And, in giving, we receive so much back. 

Generosity is also countercultural. Our culture of consumption and greed aims at creating wants and desires in us which blow past our essential needs. All of our essential needs can be met and yet, given the explosion of wants that have been created in us, we can feel like we are the most miserable people in the world. 

The worst consequence of this culturally-manufactured sense of scarcity is that it feels unsafe to give. We end up feeling like we must cling to our possessions and accumulate more stuff, or we endanger ourselves. As a nation, in the face of real poverty, we are more likely to blame the victim than to establish laws and practices which provide genuine relief to the people Jesus called “the least of these.” 

Seen in this light, generosity is also about courage to push back against all the voices of materialism and consumerism that want to make people afraid if they don’t keep spending their money all on themselves. Generosity is an ability to step back from the noise of consumer culture and see one’s real needs as if for the first time. Then, one has freedom to decide for oneself what one’s true needs are and what are the honest essentials of happiness. 

The more we love our lives, the less need there is to cling to mere money and mere things, and the more there will be to share. The safer it will feel to share. 

Generosity is about both personal justice and social justice.