“Try it, you’ll like it!”
Some of us are old enough to remember the Alka-Seltzer advertisement from 1971 with the catch-phrase “Try it, you’ll like it!” I would like to recommend trying out for Lent this year the spiritual practice of radical generosity. I am talking about the kind of generosity that Paul wrote about in his second letter to the Corinthians when he said of the Macedonians “their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means” (2 Cor. 8:2-3).
What would it mean for you this Lent to try giving of your time and money not just according to your means but even beyond your means? To take a risk, to try being generous beyond your comfort zone? I know of one church who suggested to its members to try tithing one tenth of their income to the church for the seven weeks of Lent, just to experience what that would be like.
Jesus’ call for us to lead a life of radical generosity may be more than we can follow today. But perhaps, for seven weeks in Lent, we can try out living in a different relationship to our money, our budgets, our time, our lifestyles and each other. Radical generosity will mean something different to each person and each family. The key is that we listen to our still-speaking God for how we might live out radical generosity in our lives this Lent.
Radical generosity. Try it, you’ll like it!
The late Andy Gustasfon served as the Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development from 2004 to 2014.