"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken
ONE day, a one dollar bill and a hundred dollar bill got folded together and began talking about their life experiences. The hundred dollar bill began to brag: "I've had a great life," he said. "I've been to all the big hotels, Donald Trump himself used me at his casino, I've been in the wallets of Fortune 500 board members, I've flown from one end of the country to the other! I've even been in the wallet of two Presidents of the United States, and once when Princess Diana visited the US, she used me to buy a packet of gum." In awe, the dollar humbly responded, "Gee, nothing like that has ever happened to me, ...but I have been to church a lot!"
THIS solitary dollar bill frequently represents a sad testimony of how we tithe at Church. Too often the collection plate is filled with one dollar bills or even the spare change from the bottom of our purses. Many feel their duty is complete with this tiny offering of tokens rather than assessing the storehouse of blessings God has bestowed in monetary gifts and giving accordingly. Did not the Father wake us up each morning, given us the strength and knowledge to acquire our monetary gains? Kept our families and loved ones safe? Kept the enemy at bay? And how much is a beautiful sunrise worth, the shining stars at night created by Almighty Hands, and all the endless beauty and joy created for our pleasure? If we are earning a salary or collecting any kind of income does ten percent exceed the dollar we hand in on Sunday? What if God would not favor us with His many blessings and instead give a miserly offering?
WRITER Jeremy Taylor tells us "He, who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice." Many times instead of cheerfully giving our tithes with the faith that God will supply whatever needs we have, we hang onto our money. We feel we cannot part with it for we do not know if we will need it for something vital and so in fear, hoard it for a rainy day. The Bible dispels that lack of trust with the parable of a poor widow. Mark 12:41 tells Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites. Jesus called His disciples and said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury for they have put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.
JUST imagine that the collection basket handed to us at Sunday Mass was given by Jesus, our Savior. Would we search our hearts as well as our purses and wallets and realize we owe a little more than one dollar or less? Our Bible tells us that our tithe should be a tenth part of our annual income contributed voluntarily for the support of clergy and the church. Malachi 3:8 in the Old Testament reads, "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In your tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me. And again in Matt 22:21 Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's". Matthew 6:19-21 reads Storing up treasures in Heaven, is far more important than material prosperity which shall pass away.
IF we have been graced with an income we have an obligation to tithe a portion of it. Rather than eking out whatever happens to be in our pockets on Sunday, we need to take the time to sit down and figure out how much we owe the Lord. With trust in Him and His bounty of goodness, we give with love a part of what has been generously given to us, knowing that God will never let us be disappointed in His kindness to us.
BUT we must be careful lest our tithing be a boastful offering rather than a part of our obligation as Christians. Everything we own belongs to the God Who gave it to us in the first place. Any blessing of earthly treasures came out of Gods goodness to us. Consider Luke 18:10-14 tells us what Jesus had to say about this matter: Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed God I thank You that I am not like other men, exhortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
TITHE means one-tenth of our income belongs to God. It is to be given to Him through His church (Leviticus 27:30-31). Some parishioners follow the guidelines given on the back of church envelopes that indicates one should give 5% to the church and 5% to the poor or other charities. Trust God by faithfully giving this amount of your income as suggested, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This communicates your commitment and your love for Him. When we give it is our participation in the work of Jesus. When we give to the Lord we can see that our giving is a ministry for the continuance of our faith in God as well as furthering the work of gaining new souls for Christ.
BY our tithes we are showing our thanks to God for all that He has given to us. This sets an example for others. From His whole loaf of blessings He gives to us, we are simply breaking off ten percent of that loaf and giving it back in support and continuance of the work of the Lord."Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38). "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap bountifully. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:6,7).
What shall I render to the Lord for all of His benefits towards me?" Psalm 116:12
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