An Encouraging Word – It all circles back

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

People reap what they sow. Galatians 6:7

As all my readers know, and my editors try to get me to tone down, I collect wisdom quotes. Here is one I came across during the Christmas holidays that affirms something I learned when I was serving down in the Southern Kentucky Missions in the 1970s. Anne Frank said “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Now before you jump to conclusions that I am just talking about monetary giving, let me affirm that it applies to any kind of giving as this quote from an unknown source makes clear: “Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So, give goodness.”

The first place it is true is in withholding compliments and affirmation. This occurs most often within one’s own family. There seem to be two primary motivations for withholding compliments. 1) The main reason comes from a perception that if I praise you, I will not appear to be as good as you. 2) The second reason is that, while I know you deserve to be complimented, I withhold it as a passive-aggressive way to punish you for some past slight.
By giving out what we need, we get it back. Writing this column weekly is demanding, but let me tell you I have never received so much encouragement as I have since I started giving it out weekly.

The second place it is true — that “no one has ever become poor by giving” — is in charitable giving. Whenever I have been generous with my financial resources, it has always come back in spades. Let me give you just one example from the Christmas holidays. It is typical of what has happened to me many times in the last 40 years since I have adopted it as a conscious practice.

On Christmas Day, I was visiting nursing homes. There was a mix up about reservations in the dining room. One worker told us that we could not be seated because we had no reservations. Seeing our distress, another worker came to our rescue by suggesting we go to a little room across the hall and he would bring us trays and some wine.

Since he was a young man and had given up being with his wife on Christmas Day, I decided to give him a tip. All I had was a $1 bill and a $50 bill. I gave him the $50 bill and told him to take his wife to lunch over the holidays. The very next day, I received a $500 check in the mail from someone I barely know, not a Catholic, to help pay for my next flight to the Caribbean missions.

I was amazed, but not surprised. It happens too often!

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