Husband & Wife Articles


A Cheerful Giver

Be generous with the gifts God has bestowed

By Philip Kosloski

Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present ageā€¦and eternal life in the age to come (Mark 10:29-30).

When the rich young man approaches Jesus to ask what he must do to inherit eternal life, he expects to hear a list of rules to follow. At first this is exactly what Jesus gives him by explaining how a person must follow the Commandments. However, Jesus goes a step further and challenges the rich young man to sell what he has and give to the poor.

The rich young man in the Gospel was saddened by this requirement and walked away, afraid to give up his many possessions. This is a common struggle for us; we want to follow Christ and his commands, but we are afraid to go the extra mile and radically be generous with what God has given us. It is unfortunate, as Jesus promised us that if we are generous with our time, talent and treasure, he will in turn reward us not only in this life, but most importantly in the life to come.

Nielsen Family

I have experienced this in my own life, seeing how God has been generous to us when we were generous with the gifts he has given us. For example, we have always lived on a limited income, but God has always provided for us when (and only when) we need it. After graduating from college with my Philosophy and Catholic Studies degree, I was unemployed and months away from getting married. I applied to numerous jobs, had interviews, and nothing came through. Maggie and I got married, living on the income of her high school theology teacher income (which qualified for food stamps) and trusted that God would provide.

After a few months of married life, I was approached by a local pastor and offered a part-time job. Several months later, the job became full-time. My wife was pregnant and she quit her job at the end of the school year so that she could stay at home with our newborn child. God provided, right when we needed it.

When I lost my job five years later, we decided to trust in God’s providence and offer him my gifts and talents for the spreading of the Gospel. A few months into this new venture as a blogger and writer, I became overwhelmed with opportunities. God again provided for us exactly when we needed it.

What we have learned through all of these experiences is God’s great generosity. There were times when we were wondering how we would make our next mortgage payment, but we remained faithful to God, giving to others even what we appeared to need for ourselves.

We also learned that God doesn’t only reward financial generosity. When we were generous with the time and talent, God was generous in return. I have always wanted to serve the Church in some capacity, but that path was not always clear. Yet by remaining faithful to him and the gifts and talents he has given me, doors for service have opened.

St. Paul reminded the Corinthians of this same principle when he wrote, “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work” (2 Cor 9:8). God loves a “cheerful giver” and is ready to dispense to us the many blessings he has planned. He rewards our faithfulness by providing for every need. The only thing God requires is trust. We must trust him and his will for us.

But why shouldn’t we trust him? As Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt 6:26)

We should not be afraid to be generous or to be good stewards of the time, talent and treasure God has given us. God will reward us for the good work that we are doing, if not in this life, most certainly in the life to come.

Philip Kosloski is a writer, blogger and author. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife, Maggie, and their four children.