Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is Jesus Just A Cheap Date?

Do you know any misers? I am not talking about someone who prudently spends their money frugally, but someone who selfishly hoards it. A hypothetical example might help illuminate what a miser is.

Imagine you went on a date with someone who asked you out to dinner. But, the only place they are willing to take you is McDonald's. It isn't because they think that they have great food, but they know they can keep the date cheap. Now imagine that this happens every time you go out on a date. They only want to take you to fast food joints because they don't want to spend their money on taking you anywhere else.

This kind of person is a cheapskate. They selfishly value their money over you. They show just how little they value you by their actions.

How would you feel about the prospects of this relationship continuing? Doesn't sound much like marriage material in my opinion.

But, don't be too quick to judge. Too many Catholics treat Jesus in the same manner. How? Many of us don't tithe, but rather give when it is convenient and easy.

Most Catholics are tippers, not tithers. Many don't sacrificially give to God, but tip Him when they feel like it.

What a shame! A relationship with Jesus isn't just about our convenience. To only give money when you feel like isn't a sign of a love for God. Imagine if someone only showed you love when it was convenient and they never sacrificed for you. The act of tipping God shows selfishness and a love of money.

The questions then start to bubble up:

  • Is God good to us? 
  • Did He not give us everything? 
  • Did He not die for our sins? 
  • Did He not bless us with material belongings? 

 If He did all these things, then what do we owe Him? I believe we owe Him everything.

A good way to examine where we are in our journey with Christ is to check our next bank statement. Have I given what I should? How does this reflect my relationship with Christ? What priorities do I have when it comes to money?

The widow's mite can teach us much:
"He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, 'Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.'" - Mark 12: 41-44
A note on this passage: It isn't the amount that we give that God is pleased with, but the attitude of faith that is behind the giving. We either give with faith or hoard in fear and doubt.

We have a choice - we can give from our abundance and tip God or we can sacrificially give and tithe. We can give to God first or open our wallets and purses when it doesn't hurt too much.

In understand how hard this can be. In fact, my wife and I made one of the two biggest leaps of faith as a couple when we chose early-on in our marriage to start tithing. Why did we start? Because some friends challenged us to do so. I thank them for doing so, because it changed my life and marriage. It changed how I look at what I "own" and what is really owned by God.

We do not regret our tithe and the money we return to God Why?
Because Jesus is more than a cheap date...

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