Like you I received Fr. Kevin’s letter encouraging us to consider prayerfully how to respond to the call for a renewed commitment of generosity toward the church and its ministry, recognizing that all we have comes from God.
Time, talents, treasure. These are the categories. At this time of year I find myself focussed on the treasure part of this request and begin to feel stressed about money. I’ve been praying and reading and want to share with you an excerpt from a book by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. This year, I’m trying not to focus on what I won’t have and instead pray about gratitude and generosity.
In the book (The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World), the voice of the Archbishop speaks about compassion and then goes on to say that, while necessary, compassion and a desire to help is not enough. The action that follows is generosity. In many religions generosity has been formalized and in some cases mandated. However the book talks about tithing and expanding on financial tithing to include time and talent as well.
In Buddhism, there is a practice of material giving, giving freedom from fear and spiritual giving. Time, talent, treasure. When we begin tithing, this is really a practice that begins a monthly, weekly, or daily practice that changes our thinking and how we can give to others in the way we live our faith.
Giving freedom from fear can involve giving protection, counsel or solace. Think about who needs your time today? Your spouse, your children, a friend, a stranger on the street? We are asking ourselves, who could we be reaching out to? Who needs us? That could be here at church or outside our walls.
Spiritual giving. You don’t have to be ordained to do this work! This might be praying with someone, smiling at people as you walk down the street, or offering wisdom or opportunity to serve to help a person feel like they have a role instead of just a seat in the church.
These are some reflections from me as I pray and think about ways to live more generously in response to the many good gifts that God has given me, and be cheerful in giving in return!
See you soon,