In our Gospel reading Jesus makes the point that what you give, you will get back. He was speaking of something he knew a bit about. His whole life was one of generosity, giving all he’d got to give to everyone who needed it. 

In our first reading Paul makes it quite clear that the more we give, the more we receive. He uses the analogy of sowing seed. Obviously, if we sow seed sparingly, the resulting crop will be sparse. Conversely, seed sown generously will result in a bountiful crop. Having been a farmer in my previous life, I can relate to that. And it is just the same when it comes to giving.

It is a maxim of life. And the beauty of it all is that we never really know how our giving will be returned. Invariably the return is something quite unexpected, something which takes us by surprise. 

There is an amazing story that came out of the 2004 tsunami, supposedly true.

Every morning this man would go to the edge of a lagoon connected to the ocean to feed fish with a loaf of sliced bread. One morning, a big crocodile appeared. Unperturbed, the kind man threw a few slices of bread to the crocodile. The croc snapped them up and swam away.

From that day on, the crocodile would come every morning for his breakfast of sliced bread and then swim peacefully away. 

The man was feeding the fish the morning the tsunami came. Being close to the water’s edge, he was swept up in the strong currents and carried out to sea. At first, he tried holding on to a wooden chair, but the force of the tsunami was so strong that the chair was torn from his grasp. Then he grabbed on to another piece of floating wood, and that too was pulled away from him. Close to drowning, he grabbed on to a log of wood that was floating past him. He managed to hold on to that and suck in some air.

Coming back to his senses, he noticed something very odd. Whereas every other object was being dragged by the current out to sea, his log was moving in the opposite direction back to shore. When he was close enough to dry land, the man jumped off the log and scrambled up the bank to safety. Only then did he notice that his ‘log’ had a tail. It was the crocodile! 

So the message for today is that we should all learn to give. It will come back to you in spades, and probably in an unexpected manner. Apart from that, we will all be helping to make this world a better place. 

I want to make a small observation. I have never seen an unhappy generous person, nor have I seen a happy mean person. Food for thought. 

The final word goes to American author, H Jackson Brown Jnr, ‘Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.’

Rev Warner Wilder