Several years ago my old parish needed renovation – the seats were beat-up, the floor carpet was dirty and shredding, and the walls were like century old. If I remember it right, the furnace and air condition needed replacement. The parishioners wanted the stained glass window depicting different saints was only item that was an upgrade. During the fundraising campaign in September, I pledged an amount that was really generous which I plan the contribution to spread in 2 years in addition to my monthly tithes. I told myself I can easily build the amount into my monthly budget. The following year in February, I heard an announcement that the pledges were due in April and the renovation will start in the summer. Ouch! I don’t have that money. I called the parish office, and I told secretary that I thought the contribution can be spread in 2 years, and my company was not doing well because we just paid a huge settlement to a third party, and we are not receiving any bonus or pay increase for the year. The secretary graciously transferred me to my parish priest. I told Monsignor my situation and my confusion. He said, “Leave it to God, and He will provide. Don’t worry if you can’t contribute. Just pray about it. The parish will be OK.” I felt relieved. I prayed that I want to fulfill my pledge, and so help me God.
In March, to my surprise my company announced we will receive bonus. When I get paid, to my amazement the bonus amount was the same as the pledge amount to my church. I fulfilled my pledge. I was a happy man. Every time I see that church from Interstate 270 and Olive Blvd in St Louis, I always remember God’s Divine Providence.
What is tithing? In a strict sense, it is the 10% of our income after tax. Focus not so much on the 10%, but on the 90% we keep for ourselves. My church has guidelines how to give which is less than 10%. However, I think of tithe as one of the priority over things I spend on. Tithe is given to a church where one receives his spiritual support. Also, I believe God is Love. The tithes are given to support the work of God; therefore I support the work of Love.
Giving money or goods is also about almsgiving. Almsgiving is for the needy and poor both in and out of one's own community. Alms are given over and above tithes. Yes, it should not to be deducted from one's tithe. Tithe is given weekly or monthly. Alms are given in a case-by-case situation as such my story in 2006 when I was touched by a GK presentation to shelter the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. With the help of a core group of 9 young average hardworking Filipino-American families in St Louis, we put events to fundraise money to alleviate the flight of the poorest. Our contribution of time, talent, and treasure has a multiplier effect that provided homes for 35 poorest of the poor families in 2 villages in the Philippines. The families in the village regain hope, and in the future their children will become good citizens of their country. And to a greater degree, a future doctor, teacher or leader that will change the country/world for good.
The GK work continues up to this day.
What if I don't have enough? Then relate to the story of the widow’s mite in the bible when she gave out of her poverty, and out of her love she gave it all. It’s a personal sacrifice knowing that there will be lesser person or family than yours.
What about some situations where I really cannot afford to tithe and/or alms give? In this case, it is acceptable not to give a full amount.
I’m young and no income. The church and the community need young people. You always have the time and talent to share.
The best time to give is when you are young and able.
Start giving. It's good for the soul.
Next Topic: Investing Money