Why Do We Give?
Money is on the list of the top three most taboo subjects to bring up in conversation. Why is this? In our society, money is tightly bound up with the notion of security. We all have an intimate need for security, and we often mistakenly believe that money is the key to that security. Obtaining wealth in itself is not a bad thing, unless it becomes something we desire more than a life in Christ. Our job as Christians is to consider how we interact with money, how we depend on it, and what we do with it.
When I am reminded of my responsibility to tithe, to give a portion of my money to the Church or other philanthropic causes, I sometimes feel insecure at the thought of giving away my hard earned money, my sense of security. And yet I am reminded that this money is not mine to keep and that it is ultimately not the source of my security.
Let’s go back to the beginning for a moment. God created us. He created the whole world, and in it He gave us everything we need and have. What we have is not our own doing; we often take an active part in obtaining it, but ultimately it was given to us by God.
Every Sunday before the consecration of the body and blood of Christ, the priest says, “we offer to you these gifts from your own gifts…” As a community, we offer our gifts, the wine and bread, before God and we are reminded that these gifts are not of our own creation, but they are from that which God gave to us. God receives our gifts and transforms them for healing of our soul and body. We give back to God in thanksgiving for all He has given us, and in turn, He blesses us through those gifts.
We are called to a practice of giving, of tithing. This is an exercise in dependence on God, it is an exercise of selflessness and self-offering, it is an exercise for our soul. Giving back to God is a very tangible way in which we give thanks to God for all He has given us. It is an essential element of our liturgy outside of the liturgy.
We must remember that while we are called to be good stewards of our money and save and spend it wisely, our ultimate security does not lie in the storing up of worldly things but it lies in Christ. When we offer a portion of what we have been blessed with back to Him, we will be amazed at how He will bless us through this act of giving.
By Anna Kallis, 2005