During the course of this series, we have been talking about taking responsibility for our hearts and souls, and for the mission of the Church. Jesus mentions three personal disciplines or habits of disciples: prayer, fasting, and giving. A few weeks ago, we spoke about how our use of money and possessions either helps us to love God and love people, or it will corrupt us. Several weeks ago we heard at Mass the parable of the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-8). At the end of the parable, Jesus says, I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings (Luke 16:9). In other words, use your money and possessions as an opportunity to make friends in eternity. Somehow, when we use our possessions to help the poor, or to help free people from drug trafficking, homelessness, or any effects of injustice, we will see the impact one day on the other side of eternity. We may not see the impact now, but we will see it in heaven. In the film Schindler’s List, there is a scene towards the end of the movie that illustrates this: Oskar Schildler, the protagonist who has already saved thousands of Jews from the horror of the Nazi concentration camps, breaks down in tears, because he thinks of how many more people he could have saved if he spent some of his wealth and sold his possessions. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? (16:10-12). We may not have very much to give, but we have the ability, the opportunity, to make a difference even with the little we can give. No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (16:13). All the time, every day, we have the choice to invest either in ourselves, or in eternity. More and more, may we serve God though our generosity, and realize the impact we are having on our own souls, as well as on the impact that the Church should have to deepen the ways we Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples. Questions for Small Groups:
What most excites you about giving to help others?
Talk about a time when you gave money to meet someone else’s need. How did it make you feel?
Read aloud Luke 16:9. What’s your natural reaction to using money for that purpose? Why did Jesus say that?
Read aloud Luke 16:11-12. What do you think are the true riches? What is it that God wants to give us?
Imagine if everyone at our church became a percentage giver. Talk about the kinds of things we could accomplish to impact our local communities.
What is the step you need to take with being more generous towards God and people?