Friday, February 22, 2013

Lessons From The Man Who Ate New Orleans Part 2

Two of the seven cardinal virtues of New Orleans are generosity and resiliency. It may seem strange to put these two things together, but I hope to be able to relate them to each other. In Webster's dictionary, generosity is defined as freedom in spirit or act, especially readiness in giving. Resiliency is defined as the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change. Both of these virtues are characteristic of New Orleans, and both should characterize those who follow Jesus.

Children of God should be the most resilient people. We should be able to adjust to change and recover from misfortune because we have resources to draw on. First, we have a Father who is sovereign over everything, who loves us with a perfect, everlasting love, and who always does good to us. We also have the Holy Spirit to comfort us and guide us. The third thing we have, or at least should have, is a family, a community of believers through whom God works. It is in relationship to others that we can be loved and comforted, and we can then love and comfort others who go through similar troubles. I don't believe any of us can become resilient outside of community and relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We tend to think of generosity in terms of giving money or material things. That is one aspect, but being generous involves much more, and it is in that much more that this virtue is related to resiliency.As we become more resilient through the stuff we go through, we are called to freely give to others what has been given to us. We may give money or other material things. We may give work of some sort. Our gift may be words of encouragement and comfort, or simply a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Again, we must be in community. We cannot truly be generous with our resources unless we are in relationship. Without relationship, our words and actions can be empty or they can even cause further harm. The flip side of being generous in giving is being willing to be generous in our receiving. It takes humility to admit that we need help, to let others know what is going on in our lives, and to allow them the privilege of being generous in their giving to us. That is something that is hard for many of us, myself included. But it is a vital part of living in community.

Let us be generous to our brothers and sisters. Let us freely give and freely receive. As we serve one another, let us be strengthened so that we are resilient when tough times come.

Part 1 is here.


Kansas Bob said...

I so agree with you about community Fred. That said I think that there are not too many spiritual communities that are geared towards the disabled.

co_heir said...

Sadly, you may be right. I pray that God places you in a community that is right for you.

Kansas Bob said...

Thanks Fred! One day I think He may. :)

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