Many people ask me why the Church talks about stewardship so much if, as people tend to say, God doesn’t need our money. It is true that God doesn’t need our money, but others in the Church and world do. Many people are still on the ‘thanksgiving high’ as the holiday weekends continues, so I thought I would offer an alternative to holiday shopping.
It is easy to be generous when we have extra funds ‘laying around’ our bank account, but when we struggle to pay our own expenses, and faced with the holidays coming, it can be tempting to dig in and keep what we have for when we need it. That has not always been the case in the Church. In fact, studies have shown that the most generous are NOT wealthy, but the poor. Take a moment and read today’s reading from St Paul.
Brethren, I want you to know about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints - and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. – 2nd Corinthians 8.1-5
You’ve heard the parable of the widow’s mite (see Mark 12.41-44) who gave “more than all those who have given to the treasury.” Now, today we hear St Paul tell us the Christians in Macedonia were so generous, that they gave from their extreme poverty. St Paul makes a point to say they gave beyond their means to teach us to give.
Instead of going on a shopping spree this year for Christmas, find ways to give to those truly in need, the poor and homeless of your community. Reach out to your local parish and ask what the plan is for helping others this year for Christmas and offer to fund part of the mission. If the Christians in Macedonia can give from their extreme poverty beyond their means, we can do more than we do.
Every time someone gives to others from their poverty, they are blessed by the grace of God. You may not be poor in financial terms in your life, but maybe you are poor in generosity. This can be the year you receive the grace of God because you gave from your poverty. If you feel it is too much, be inspired by today’s reading, and beg God to allow you to serve where He needs you. It will change they way you experience Christmas this year.