One of our stewardship commitments is a commitment of our treasure. This simply means that we give back to God from the financial blessings that God has given us. The biblical measure of giving back is a tithe. Tithing means to give back to God 10 percent of what He has given us.
When mentioning tithing and giving money, many people are still bound by former ways of thinking about treasure. “All he ever talks about is money,” or “How dare you tell me how much money I should give to the Church” are still common remarks I hear from Catholics after preaching about a stewardship commitment of treasure. Usually these types of comments indicate that the person who is complaining has really been touched by the message, but doesn’t know how to respond or how to really change his or her life to accept and live the message of stewardship.
Mary Pat Frey from our diocesan stewardship office here in the Diocese of Cleveland talks about a spirituality of stewardship. She writes: “In a presentation on the ‘Spirituality of Fundraising,’ Henri Nouwen said that people shy away from talking about money. In fact, he believed that money conversations are a greater taboo than those about sex or religion. This has to do with the intimate place in our heart where we need security. We do not want to reveal our need or put ourselves in a position of being dependent so we feel an urge to hoard what money we have. Combined with a culture that encourages us to spend, acquire and consume, we should not be surprised to find that people become defensive when they are challenged to share their material possessions, ‘in justice and love with others’ (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, USCCB 1992).”
A commitment to a stewardship way of life helps us to see God’s love for us in everything about our life. During this Easter season we realize just how much God loves us. Our hearts are burning with the realization that Jesus has suffered, died and risen from the dead for us. We want to love God and others and proclaim Jesus as Lord of our life, including our pocketbooks.