Sunday, 18 March 2012

Pause In Lent #4 Liberality

A Pause in Lent Floss

I had to look this one up – and found this definition

Liberality – the pursuit of Will

Liberality is a spirit of generosity for a proper and worthy charity that may involve the donation of our time, our money, or other possessions.Liberality is completely different from the political philosophy of liberalism. Liberality is personal rather than social, and it is the opposite of the sin of avarice.

Avarice is greed, the inordinate love of earthly things, especially money. It is inordinate when we are not guided by reason or need, when we go to unusual lengths to get material goods, or when we are miserly in giving. Greed short-sightedly neglects permanent reward in heaven for temporary rewards in this life. We conquer greed by the practice of liberality

cardinals-consortingPaul reminded Timothy “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

For three years running [2009-2011], my Lent Challenge was to give away something every day from Ash Wednesday till Easter. It was incredible – some people found it hard to accept something given without expectation of return, I was amazed by how many things other people kept giving me – and I can honestly say I have not missed anything I donated, or regretted passing it on.

There are some things about the definition of the virtue of liberality above that strike a chord with me

  • ‘a proper and worthy charity’ – we should be wise in our stewardship
  • ‘the donation of money, time or other possessions’ – depending on the situation, which of those three am I able to give? and which is the easiest to give, and which the most costly? Handing over a five pound note, or spending time volunteering, or giving away a possession which might be of use to the recipient – or all three?
  • ‘personal rather than social’ – my church fellowship here is incredibly generous in the proportion of its annual budget which is given away to those outside, and the money I give to the church is part of that. That does not absolve me from any personal responsibility in giving to other causes.
  • ‘greed short sightedly neglects permanent reward in heaven for temporary reward in this life’ – in the light of eternity, just how important is it for me to possess something?

philip henry no foolPhilip Henry, the nonconformist preacher [1631-1696] and father of Matthew [who wrote the famous Bible Commentary] said

“He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose.”

Despite sophisticated alarm systems, thieves still manage to nick stuff. Moths chew through sweaters and ballpoint pens leak over tablecloths and handbags. Recent events have shown us that banks are unreliable. Let’s keep our real treasures in heaven, and hold lightly to the things we have on earth – and be ready to share the many blessings we have with others.


  1. The last paragraph is so true, another great post, with lots to think about, thanks.

  2. Hi Angela! So true! We can travel very light on this life journey, can't we?
    What a lovely party your church had for the blessed couple! The yellow cake DOES look scrumptious! I'm glad you tasted it.
    I've lost one of my bridesmaids, I must find her again!
    (BIG HUG and happy Sunday, friend!)

  3. PP - how did you lose her? That sounds uncharacteristically careless of you!


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