Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stewardship: Tithing Tips
Tithing is the practice, established by God in the Old Testament, of returning 10% of your blessings to God. Abraham (“our father in faith” according to the Roman Canon, Eucharistic Prayer I) shows us tithing when he gave a tenth of all that he owned to the priest-king of Salem, Melchizedek; and so the good practice of tithing became part of our faith tradition unto our own day and age. The most important thing to understand about tithing is that for the believer the tithe is really what is owed to God. The tithe is not given based on the needs of the priests, of the Church, or of the poor; rather, it is given simply in recognition of and gratitude for the blessings that the Lord has bestowed on the individual. Thus, each believer has a need to tithe to God, and we do not give to a need so much as recognize our need to give.
Tithing certainly is necessary in the Catholic Church today. When the Lord introduced the concept of the tithe in the Old Testament, He told the Israelites that this contribution was necessary in order for them to support the work of the Levites and the needs of the poor in the community. Today in our own age, the Church still needs our support to pay the expenses and financial obligations that it incurs as it operates in a commercial society. Salaries, benefits, insurance, maintenance, utilities and service fees are all expenses that never even existed when the Lord first decreed that each of us was to give back a percentage of what we have. Additionally, we still are called to care for the poor who are among us.
Sacred Scripture teaches us that everything belongs to God and that we are to give back to God, for God made the world and all that is in it. God made us and blessed us with absolutely every gift that we have. Our lives, our families, our health, our education, our unique talents and skills, our income all are blessings from God, entrusted to our care for the good of every people. Thus, when we tithe, we are simply giving back 10% of something that ultimately belongs to God anyway. The amazing thing is that the Lord is a generous and abundant God who allows us to keep and enjoy 90% of all His blessings!
With all of this in mind, the most important tip for tithing is to
. If we can bother ourselves to plan a family budget and thus set aside a certain amount of money each month for certain necessary expenses, we ought to plan and budget similarly for our tithing. Perhaps 10% tithing is too much of a stretch at first; start small, therefore, and then let it grow. Whatever is your planned gift to give back to the Lord and His Church, a good standard rule is to give half of that gift to the parish and the other half to other charities and causes. Again, always keeping in mind that
we give is not as important as
we give. And actually budgeting our planned gift is the most important tip for tithing that I can suggest to you.
Included in the bulletin with this column is a tithing chart, which hopefully will be a useful aid for you as you set out to budget your financial planning.
God bless you all!
~ Fr. Lewis
on Saturday, September 26 at 2:00PM