19 October, Monday — Giving Until It Hurts

Monday of Week 29 in Ordinary Time

Eph 2:1-10
Lk 12:13-21

“…this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?”

One of the things I admire with my non-Catholic Christian friends is how faithful they are to tithing 10% of their income to their church. I must admit that tithing 10% is too difficult for me. Even though I’ve had several salary increments, the increase in my Church contribution is not proportional to these increments.

Our Catholic Church does not oblige us to follow the 10% tithing. We are encouraged to give what we can. But I feel that it’s good to give an amount that would make us feel like we are giving up a bit, and that giving that amount hurts a little. Maybe by giving $2, a secondary school kid would have to give up fries from a set meal. Maybe giving $10 would mean giving up a cup of Starbucks. Or maybe giving $15 would mean not having a bottled soju for the week. What I’m trying to say is that maybe we could challenge ourselves more to be more generous with God, and not hoard anything. Even if we are not hoarding physical things, we hoard experiences and enjoyment. And when we get to heaven, whose will these be? Will these experiences add up to our richness in heaven?

The other thing that I thought I should give to God as tithe was to tithe 10% of my time to him. I thought that maybe I could start with that, if I could not part with 10% of my income. In a week, there are 168 hours. So 10% of this will be 16.8 hours. In a day, that’s about giving God 2.4 hours of my time. Sunday Mass is only one hour, weekday Masses are only half an hour each. When I was serving in a ministry, I could easily offer up 7 hours per week. Now that I’ve taken a break, I am still trying to find ways of how to offer up 10% of my time. What I’m trying to drive at here is really, how much time do we give to God? How much of this time are we hoarding for ourselves and our enjoyment?

To put things in perpective, praying the Rosary would take about 15 – 20 minutes. This can be done during our commute. A 15-minute morning prayer, and a 15-minute evening prayer will only add up to half an hour each day. Nowadays, masses can be accessed online, and there are weekday masses that are a mere 20 minutes long. Even with this, it still doesn’t add up to 2.4 hours in a day. I must admit that the reason why I couldn’t give up 2.4 hours per day to God is that I prefer watching animé. I think all of us have our own choice of time-occupiers (whether it is work, leisure, etc).

Again, the Church states that we give to God what we can. I think the whole idea about 10% is that it’s an amount that will make us feel the pinch (whether in time, in money, or in something else). I think this benefits us more than it benefits God because committing to this helps us be more detached from earthly materials and pleasures.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us be detached so we can give you more of what you have given us.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for resources you have blessed me with.

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