“Keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts. 20:35).
When we are born we are born naked, helpless, and penniless. The only things we “possess” are life and love. When we die we die naked, helpless, and penniless. The only things we can take with us are our lives and our love. In between, absolutely everything we come to own and possess is a gift from God who, as Jesus says, knows our needs (Mt. 6:33). We earn nothing. We merit nothing. We are rewarded for nothing. In this way Jesus calls us to be attached to nothing and detached from everything. If we are to claim attachment to anything it should be attached to it because it leads us to the one and only thing to be possessed and treasured: Jesus Christ.
Jesus commands us to store up for ourselves treasure in heaven (Mt. 6:20). A disciple of Jesus and a parishioner at Notre Dame Parish stores up treasure in heaven by tithing. (A tithe is ten percent of one’s total family income.) Admittedly not everyone is at the level of ten percent, but all should be working toward that end. Christian tithing is planned, a priority in one’s budget, percentage based, and progressive. As progressive, if one is tithing nothing, one should tithe something small to begin with and then work toward a fuller tithe of income. In this way one grows in one’s trust in the Lord, faith in God, hope for eternal life, and love of God and one another. “I tell you,” Jesus says, “make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Lk. 16:9). “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:21).
This message of stewardship can be found throughout the bible, from Genesis through the church to Jesus Christ. Take the time to open your bible and continue to reflect upon how God is calling you to live.
† “Do not let your hand be open to receive, but clenched when it is time to give”(Sir. 4:31).
† “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7).
† “This stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house. Of all that you give me I will faithfully return a tenth part to you” (Gn. 28:21-23).
† “As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything” (2 Chr. 31:4-6).
† “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Mal. 3:9-11).
† “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Dt. 15:9-11).
† “They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed” (Ps. 37:24-26).
† “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chr. 29:13-15).
† “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; Then will your barns be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow” (Prv. 3:9-10).
† “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Prv. 11:24-26).
† “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:19-21).
† “So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Mt. 6:36-38).
† “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Mt. 10:8).
† “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Lk. 6:38).
† “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:5-7).
† “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:15-17).