Think of someone you know who is truly generous. Someone who gives of their time, their talent, and their treasures. Is that person happy? My guess is that they are. There is a couple in my church who seem to just give away all that they have whenever a need arises. They have opened their home to family members, volunteer untold hours of time, and quietly finance ministry and missions every week. And they are always smiling. There is a kind of sweet joy that just oozes from their pores and people are naturally drawn to them.

Generosity is a common theme in the Scriptures. Jesus mentions this quality often (see Matthew 5) and we see it here in our passage today. Note how the psalmist lifts up generosity as a worthy ideal and a path to happiness.

Psalm 112 (Common English Bible)

Praise the Lord!
    Those who honor the Lord,
    who adore God’s commandments, are truly happy!
Their descendants will be strong throughout the land.
    The offspring of those who do right will be blessed;
    wealth and riches will be in their houses.
    Their righteousness stands forever.
They shine in the dark for others who do right.
    They are merciful, compassionate, and righteous.
Those who lend generously are good people—
    as are those who conduct their affairs with justice.

Merciful, compassionate, righteous, generous, and good. These are the qualities of the people who adore God’s commandments. These are the qualities of those who are truly happy. These are the qualities of Christ.

Yes, these sorts of people will never be shaken;
    the righteous will be remembered forever!
They won’t be frightened at bad news.
    Their hearts are steady, trusting in the Lord.

Verse 7 is an interesting take: “they won’t be frightened at bad news.” I don’t know that I have ever spotted that before. The psalmist is reminding us that when we are grounded in the commandments and honor God, we don’t have to fear bad things. There is no promise that bad things won’t happen, but an assurance that bad things don’t have to be frightening when you are centered in God’s will.

Their hearts are firm; they aren’t afraid.
    In the end, they will witness their enemies’ defeat.
They give freely to those in need.
    Their righteousness stands forever.
    Their strength increases gloriously.

A great way to respond to our reading today is to go out and be overly generous to someone. Leave a big tip, bring in your neighbor’s trash cans, let someone pull out in front of you when you’re driving, or pay for someone’s order in the drive-through behind you. Where is God calling you to be generous? I bet if you are, you will put a smile on that person’s face. And yours.

Blessings by Michelle Robertson

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