When and how much money should I give to the church? That question can raise much debate in Christian circles. I like to refer to St. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 8) for a solid perspective on giving.
Paul speaks of the “grace of God given to the churches of Macedonia” when he speaks about how charitable they have been to him, even in their affliction. He speaks of the “abundance of their joy and their profound poverty” that led to their “wealth of generosity.”
In this account, he is testifying that these people gave spontaneously as they “begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the service to the holy ones!” First they gave to the Lord, and then to Paul.
I think this passage reveals much about giving. These people certainly saw the importance of their gift to Paul for the greater church. It implies a certain trust in Paul that their gift would be used appropriately (probably for the church in Jerusalem). Their action reflects their great desire to support the work of Paul and the others, because they knew there was a need. Spreading the gospel is the work of all of us.
They were not in it for themselves and, in fact, most likely would not directly see the results of their giving in their own community.
When we give, do we return to the Lord what he has given out of a sense of gratitude and our awareness of needs beyond our own parish? Do we see our own parish as part of the larger church? Do we have a concern for our brothers and sisters striving in churches that are hurting?
This attitude of giving that looks beyond our borders, comes only through the grace of God. It is a work of the Holy Spirit that inspires and leads us to greater generosity. It is the Holy Spirit that makes it possible to lend support “out of our poverty” so that it overflows to others.
As a church, let us pray in confidence that God will show us how to provide for the needs for others, through our trust in Him, rather than limit our generosity out of fear.
Have a blessed day!