The gift of our treasure may be the most challenging for us to share; perhaps even testing our faith.
We cannot do everything or help everyone, but through financial stewardship we can participate and make things happen! Through financial support to the parish we all visit the sick; we all are involved in religious education; we all counsel the bereaved; we all teach in the school; we all make the sacraments possible; we all send the parish newsletter; we all help outreach projects; we all cheer on the Bobcats; and the list goes on.
The Christian need to share our gifts of Treasure may be best illustrated by the well-known parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30, which speaks of a man preparing to travel to a far country. Before departing, he gives talents or money to his servants.
- The first servant receives five talents and works to build them into five more.
- The second servant, who receives two talents, doubles their value as well.
- But the third servant, who receives one talent, buries it.
When the master returns, he praises the first and second servants, but he takes the one talent from the third servant because the servant was not a good steward of the money, having done nothing to increase its value. The lesson of the parable of the talents is that we are to make good use of material gifts given to us by God. To be less than frugal with our material goods is a sin. To do nothing with them is just as wrong.
When we do make the most of material possessions, Sacred Scripture points out two ways we can show our gratitude to God for his gifts.
- First, because God is the Giver, some percentage of what is received must be returned to Him as an act of gratitude. (The Old Testament people were expected to give a tithe of 10 percent. This practice is mentioned 39 times in the Old Testament and 11 times in the New Testament, so we know it is God’s will that the practice be continued.)
- Secondly, there should be some sharing of our money and material goods with those in need in our family, community, diocese and world. Paul 11, Cor. 9:1-15.
Your gift of treasure is a direct gift only you can give. Remember the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “It is in giving that we receive.”