UP Catholic 07 14 2017 E Edition Page 12

12 July 14, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org Tithing reminds us to rely on God I grew up surrounded by the love of my family on a dairy farm in the Upper Peninsula. We didnt have much, but we always seemed to have enough to get by. My father would come home with cash hed earned and hand it over to my mother, who managed the money in my family. My mother would immediately count some of the money out, fold it carefully, and place it in a canister which she kept in the cupboard. That was the church offering, and on Sundays it would be folded care- fully into a clean handkerchief, tied securely, and one of us kids got to carry it to church. This story, told to me long ago by a dear friend, surfaces sur- prisingly often in my mind. When the memory returns to me it lingers long enough for me to re- flect and be amazed by its ever-deepening impact on me over time. At first I was probably touched by the image of a farm family milking cows together. I admired the mother as the family's finance manager. I pictured the family filling an entire pew in a small country church each Sunday. Later, I thought more about what this story taught me about tithing. The tithe is an Old Testament concept. It was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned to the Temple. The Old Testament teaches the principle of first fruits, giving from the best of the crop, not the leftovers. Likewise, my friend's mother set aside their familys church offering before paying the bills. Many people believe that the tithe is a good principle to follow. Giving 10 percent of our in- come back to God demonstrates our thankfulness to him for what he has provided and helps us to remember to rely on God instead of on riches. Maybe this is why my friend had the attitude of we always seemed to have enough to get by. For some, a tithe is a stretch goal to be achieved in small steps over time. Others may be able to give more than a tenth. How do we know how much to give? The answer is found in prayer. And, in striving to live a stew- ardship way of life. Stewardship asks us to give a prayerful, propor- tionate gift of our time, talent and treasure based upon our personal faith response. It is an expres- sion of discipleship that has the power to change how we understand and live out our lives. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave us a beautiful pastoral letter on stewardship titled Stewardship A Disciple's Response. It gives us a model for Christian living that is a profound spiri- tual experience that is also very practical, touching every aspect of our daily lives. I am struck by my friend's story time and time again. It teaches me about my own personal stew- ardship journey each time I recall it and relate it to the present moment in my life. This is how stewardship is a way of life for me. My decision to follow Jesus has matured over time, solidified in my mind and heart, evolved into a firm commit- ment that I try to carry out in action. I make plenty of mistakes along the way, but my friend's story motivates me to get back on track. It has gradually moved me to know the joy of returning to the Lord in gratitude for all his blessings. Terri Gadzinski is the Executive Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Marquette. To learn more, contact her by email at tgadzinski@dioceseofmarquette.org or call (906) 227-9108. f LIVING STEWARDSHIP Terri Gadzinski STEWARDSHIP ASKS US TO GIVE A PRAYERFUL, PROPORTIONATE GIFT OF OUR TIME, TALENT AND TREASURE BASED UPON OUR PERSONAL FAITH RESPONSE. IT IS AN EXPRESSION OF DISCIPLESHIP THAT HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE HOW WE UNDERSTAND AND LIVE OUT OUR LIVES. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, That there may be food in my house. Put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, And see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you bless- ing without measure!" Malachi 3:10 On giving

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