FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
TREASURE IN HEAVEN
June 17, 2011
Today’s reading: Matthew 6:19-23
Being able to live out financial stewardship is a matter of perspective. If we focus on our human needs, we will always find ourselves reluctant to part with money that we can use for ourselves. We will always find excuses (and good ones at that) why we cannot give more to the Church. Our needs are personal, immediate and urgent; the needs of the Church seem to be much less personal to us and we do not appreciate the urgency and magnitude of her needs.
What then is the right perspective?
Well, just like God gave us the Ten Commandments, so also He gives us the command to support the Church, through the tithe. On our own we would never just generously give, due to the sinful selfish flesh within us. By commanding us, it is not that God wants to impose Himself or to force us against our will, rather, it is that God wants us to consider how serious is what He is commanding.
How serious is financial stewardship? Though the work of the Church is spiritual, it is done by humans and fueled by the worldly element of money. Someone once said that money is the excrement of the devil; yes, but it makes good fertilizer. We need money in order to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to the ends of the earth. Thus when we take financial stewardship seriously and we give to the Church (preferably a tithe and even more), then we help provide what she needs in order to aggressively do her work. On the other hand, if we do not, then, by our inaction, we become responsible for her inability to respond to the fullness of grace and the opportunities for mission.
Using our money just for ourselves leads to the sin of selfishness, which leads to greater focus on ourselves, which leads to a life less and less centered on Christ. On the other hand, giving money for the cause of Christ leads to the virtue of selflessness, which leads to lesser focus on ourselves, which leads to a life more and more centered on Christ.
Thus, in talking about money and worldly possessions, the real issue is whether we look to earth and our transitory stay here, or we look to heaven and our eternal home. Money is needed to do the will of God. And when we do the will of God, we assure our eternal reward.
And so Jesus teaches us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, …. But store up treasures in heaven” (Mt 6:19).
* * *