Last weekend my eldest toddler (because I technically have *two* toddlers now...) turned three. For her birthday, one of her great grandmothers mailed her three dollar bills. She opened her birthday card and handed me the money, at which point I had to explain that it was her money and she could spend it however she wanted. After parading around the apartment for five minutes singing a song about her three dollars, she asked me what she could do with it. I told her that I could hold on to her dollar bills and when she sees something in the store, she can buy it. She agreed and handed over her dollar bills and that was that. The next morning, the day of her actual birthday, we were getting ready to go to Mass and she asked, "Mama, can I have one of my dollars to put in the basket at church instead of saving it for the store?" I literally hadn't even thought to offer her tithing as an option, but she wanted to give her money away freely, preferring to give it to God rather than a store. Instantly my heart swelled up and I told her she could. I was so proud of her that I couldn't help but think of ways that I could give her more money as a return for her generosity. I thought of the $5 bill on my dresser and thought of ways to give it to her - as a birthday present or something she could 'find' in a pair of her pants pockets, etc. (Not that she needs more money, mind you, she doesn't even really *need* the first three dollar bills she got, Anthony and I take care of all of her needs!) As we headed off to Mass I kept thinking of ways to reward her for her generosity, still so amazed that she freely chose to give her money to the Lord, even at such a young age. Then it hit me, this is exactly how God is with us. We give Him a little and He gives back in spades, multiplying what we originally offered Him. We need so little, He takes care, truly takes care of all of our needs, and yet He is still generous with us beyond our needs, meeting even our desires. More often than not when I get a gift I'm quick to plot what I am going to buy with it - new pants, a shirt just because, chocolate, flowers, whatever - but I seldom think about how the Lord wants me to use that money. I recently found $25 in my pants when I washed a pair of pants I hadn't worn in a while. That $25 is still sitting on my dresser, waiting for a rainy day, but I hadn't bothered to ask God about it until my toddler chose to give of her birthday money so willingly. The fact of the matter is that when we give, even a little, the Lord blesses us. He finds ways to give back to us, from money in our pants pockets, to a check in the mail we never expected. When we give generously, He blesses generously. As true as it is with our finances, it is also true with our faith, opening just the tiniest of cracks in our heart to Him, He comes rushing in, filling us with His love and mercy. This week as we prepare for the Triduum, for all that Christ endures for us, let us remember to be generous with Him. He gave us His Son. He will never be outdone in generosity and it is incredible to watch Him return what we offer Him, whether it be with our finances, our faith, or our willingness to trust that He's got it all under control.
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