This blog post is for all those who like to give themselves away. Who like to help others, support them in any way, financially, psychologically, … but also for all those who sometimes give too much of themselves.
We are called to give ourselves as God gave Himself at the birth of Jesus, as Jesus gave Himself on the cross. He held nothing back. So in looking at Jesus, the bar for giving is set high. However, turning briefly to the Old Testament, we hear that Abraham gave his tithe to Melchizedek the priest (Gen 14:19-20); Jacob made a vow to give back 10% of everything he received from God (Gen 28:20-22); and everyone was to tithe in whatever form, animals, fruit, etc. (Lev 27:30-32). 10% sounds little against 100%. But 10% is a whole lot. If we all gave 10% of our time, resources and money to others instead of keeping it for ourselves, the world would be a better place. I wonder if we can give 100% at all. Jesus could, because he was the Son of God; his resources, at least in his divine nature, were infinite. Certainly, as a man, he gave everything, himself, his life. But he never forces us to do the same. There may be people, priests, religious, pious men and women, who try to give everything. But do they give everything? I like the idea of 10%. And if God calls you to it, you can give more.
We are invited to give because we have received so much from God. Tithing is a sign of gratitude. It emphasizes that we have no “right” to receive from God, but that it is His free gift of love. He wants us to be equally loving. You can’t measure that with a number. You can give 10% and still have a hardened heart. But I like the concreteness of that number.
It remains true what Luke writes: “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35) It is wonderful to be able to give. But having a target number can also be an expression of charity toward ourselves. It is a protection for those who usually give too much without taking care of themselves. Let’s start with 10%! Once we have done that, we understand how much 100% is.
Dear God, your generosity is boundless. You wish us the best in a way that no one else can. You love us more than we can love ourselves. I thank you for this love of yours.