"If I just had a better paying job, or maybe win the lotto or a casino jackpot, or come by an inheritance, then I could give more generously to the Church." Really? Well, as high as the odds may be against one of those events happening, that promised increase in church giving may be even more remote. It has been said that the person who won't share a sandwich when they're poor won't share a steak if they become rich. For those not giving generously to the Church already, it's possible that your disposition for sharing is in need of an overhaul, and maybe an evaluation of your wants versus needs is in order.

The Bible (Sirach 29:21) tells us that an individual's prime needs are water, food, clothing, and a place to live. We know that family needs also include educational opportunities, a means of transportation and communication, the obligation to pay for utilities, and of course taxes. These items require income, which requires some budget planning. The Church community also has needs, obligations, and a budget to meet. Sometimes, however, Church support becomes an afterthought, especially when we forget that this community is also a family, a family of believers that requires a sufficient income for the work that needs to be accomplished. Supporting this family is rooted in Scripture.

In Malachi chptr 3, the Lord says to test Him and bring the entire tithe into the storehouse, and He will open the floodgates of heaven and pour down blessing without measure upon us. Saint Paul likewise tells us in 2 Cor 9:6-8 to sow bountifully in order to reap bountifully so that our needs will be met and we will even have a surplus for good works. The author of Tobit writes that we should give in proportion to what we own, and even those with little should not be afraid to give something as well.

Everyone desires a comfortable church for worship, adequate and well supplied rooms for child and adult education, a modern social hall for all of our life celebrations, etc. This can't happen when we lapse into giving the same weekly amount year after year, which is easy to do especially if it's an electronic transfer. But a weekly offering that is increased even a modest amount each year makes it possible for the parish to continue to meet its obligations and provide the best environment possible. A yearly review on a significant day (such as a birthday or at New Years) can prompt us to continue the practice to increase our offering at that time.

Heeding the author of Sirach to "Let not your hand be open when it is time to receive and clenched when it is time to give," we all need to give generously and meaningfully to help support the family that working together provides our many spiritual benefits.

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