Hi, welcome to Friday’s post, submitted on Saturday. Oops. I guess this is a Lenten reminder that sometimes we all mess up in our resolutions and we need to admit we goofed, ask for forgiveness and then shrug our shoulders and move on. So, dear readers, I ask you to forgive me for delivering this reflection a little late. If you’ll still hang out with me, I’ll move onto a post about almsgiving.
Almsgiving is the last of the Lenten Big Three for my reflections to cover. I struggle a lot with almsgiving. I don’t always feel like I have enough money to donate to good causes, especially not enough money to make a difference. When I do have enough money to make some donations, I wonder if I’m actually helping the organization. I also wonder if I am letting myself off easy. Am I making the most of my gifts? Am I challenging myself?
So let’s talk about almsgiving as it falls under stewardship. If you are a member of a Catholic parish, you might think of the Stewardship Committee as the group who always begs you for donations. This is quite possibly the case. However, there is a movement to redefine our perception of stewardship.
This refocusing of stewardship calls us to consider what “belongs to us” as effectively just being ours to borrow, or to look after. After all, as we remember through other Lenten activity, we are entirely dependent on God, who gives us all good things. These things that belong to us are more than just financial resources. All our gifts, including our abilities, our personalities, our hobbies and every day of our lives, are from God and should be put to use for His glory.
With that in mind, how do we apply our time, talent and treasure?
Maybe this Lent, it would be helpful to reconsider your giving. Are you just throwing money at problems? Are you really stopping to consider ways that you specifically with your knowledge of bookkeeping, or your sympathetic ear, or your ability to teach, could be useful to a local charity?
Are you donating time and effort but not challenging yourself to give up some money? Even now, as I sit here at Starbucks, posting this online, I am forced to consider the cost of my drink. Could I have not spent that money another way?
So let’s get creative with our stewardship. I want to hold up an example of some truly creative giving I found this week. A Canadian graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA is trying to finish her dissertation and get into shape, both daunting tasks. She’s asking for donations to two of her favorite charities based on how fit she gets before she defends her dissertation, with an added twist of international competition. Check out her website here and see if you want to help her project, or if you are inspired to find your own way to give.
What opportunities do you have to give of your time, talent and treasure this Lent? Try and find one way to give of each before Holy Week.