When the church needs a new roof or the local food bank needs donations, we jump at the chance to give for the sake of the need. It’s part of our human nature — we identify a need, and we want to give of our time, talent and treasure to help.
Yet, as a stewardship people, we are called to give of ourselves not simply because the Church has needs, but because each of us has a need to give. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states in its pastoral letter on stewardship, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, “We need to give our money to individuals and families in need, to the Church, and to other worthwhile charitable organizations because giving money is good for the soul and because we need to return thanks to a loving God for all of the many blessings each of us has received” (67).
As fellow members of the Body of Christ, created in God’s image, we should strive to go beyond simply co-existing with one another on earth. The life we live should be fueled by love for each other. This love should dictate how we live — by giving of ourselves.
Jesus Christ showed us the perfect example of this self-giving love when He died on the cross. His death was a completely selfless act. He gave of Himself for our sake, offering us — through that gift — life everlasting.
As Christ’s disciples, we follow His example, and we give of ourselves for the sake of others, out of love and an inherent need to give.
That’s not to say that we gain nothing through our gifts. In fact, in His goodness, God sees to it that we do. Most of us have experienced what happens when we give of our time, talent or treasure. We feel as though we get more out of it than we give. If you speak to someone who serves at the soup kitchen or someone who has made it a regular practice to tithe to the Church, you are likely to find that he or she feels blessed to be able to give. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops points out, “To be a Christian disciple is a rewarding way of life, a way of companionship with Jesus, and the practice of stewardship as a part of it is itself a source of deep joy. Those who live this way are happy people who have found the meaning and purpose of living” (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, 21).
Find out for yourself. Get involved in a ministry. Make a commitment to put some money in the collection basket next Sunday. Don’t wait to find out if there is a need — give of yourself right now. You will be richly blessed for doing so.