Do you give until it hurts?
(Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” -Mark 12:41-44, NAB
The widow in today’s verse sets an example for the rest of us to follow. When we tithe, are we giving everything we can, or only what we are willing to do without? For most of us, it is probably the latter, and it affects the ability of the Church to continue its work.
There are few organizations that make as large of a global impact in the world as the Catholic Church. Beyond the Church’s work in local parishes, think of the great work being done by Catholic hospitals, universities, and other programs. Or consider the reach of Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. Each of these efforts depends on financial commitments from everyday Catholics like us.
If we, as Catholics, do not continue to support the work of the Catholic Church financially, the world will become a much different place. Dropping our spare coins into the offering plate is not committing to the Church’s mission. Many of us, myself included, need to take a serious look at what we are truly doing to help the Church’s cause.
What we give impacts more than the people around us; it can have a major impact on our own soul. God blesses us in many ways, and our tithes are in honor of that. Tithing well tells God that we truly appreciate the gifts He has given us, regardless of how big or small. Have you shown God how much you appreciate the blessings in your life?
Of course, I understand that the economy is struggling, and it has a major impact on many people’s lives. Like the poor widow, though, if you do give financially – even if it is only a couple of dollars – your gift means more than the rich man who throws in ten times that. Also, if your financial means are limited, give God your time and talents instead; sometimes this is worth more than you could ever give financially.
The Church needs our help in a very real way. To continue spreading the Gospel, we need to offer our earthly treasures, as well as our time and talents, to the Lord. We have two choices: remain a spectator as others give of themselves, or join in and help the cause. The Church, and God, asks us to be more than spectators; we need to be participants in God’s work.
The Catholic Church is not just a group of bishops and priests; it is the one billion (and counting) Catholic individuals, under the leadership of our bishops and priests. Don’t leave God’s work up to somebody else. Join the team, give your treasures, talents, and time, and help support the Church’s mission in any way you can.