Revelation 14:1-3, 4b-5
He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood." Luke 21: 3-4
If you are reading this reflection, I doubt if you are in the situation of the woman who had only 2 coins to her name. Most of us have a nice home, food on the table and money in the bank. How can we give from our want, and not just our surplus? Tithing is a good place to start. When Jim and I got married, I was catholic, and he was not. He said that it would be okay if I tithed 5 % of his paycheck to the church. Four years later, he became a catholic, and said we needed to begin giving 10 % to the church, which I gladly did. But one day he asked me, "So, are you giving 10% of my paycheck before taxes, or after? And I said after of course, since that’s what you bring home, and he said No, you need to give 10% of our gross income. Wow, it took a convert to teach me how to tithe!
There are real benefits to tithing. Some friends of ours were having a hard time paying their bills. They had 8 kids and money was tight. Then they began tithing, and after that there was always enough. Thank you Lord! Of course tithing is only the least we should do. Many people give away more than 10% and we can also give our time and talents to build the kingdom. We can find ways to use less so that we can share more with others. One of my sons and his wife have chosen to only have one car, even though they have 3 kids and another one on the way. They also choose to eat meat less and buy local produce. Their choices have less impact on the environment, and allow them to live more simply. Lord show each of us how we can live more simply and be a blessing to others.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 3. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected]/org