Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.
This Gospel verse has been one of my favorites for a long time, and it brought to mind the experience, probably 35 years ago, when our parish chose to become a tithing parish. We had three speakers, from three different financial backgrounds, from quite wealthy to relatively poor, talk about their journey to tithing, giving 10% of their income, before taxes, to the Lord, with half going to the parish and half to other charities. The parish, in turn, gave 10% of its income to other charities, including a sister parish we adopted in the inner city.
Although we had always given to our parish and other charities, we had never given the full 10% of our gross income, but this seemed to be where the Lord was calling us, and taking a deep breath we began right away, and we did always experience the Lord's provision, whether my husband was doing well financially or when he lost his job for seven months and we had no savings, three small children, and a mortgage that had doubled in size when we moved to California. We experienced God's arms around us through our community, especially our parish and our Worldwide Marriage Encounter family. When my husband chose not to pursue a possible job opening with a company that turned out to be one of the largest producers of artificial birth control pills, the local right-to-life group gave us a large check that enabled us to keep going. Our M.E. couples gave us a Christmas party complete with Santa Claus, gifts and a new dress for each daughter. One couple babysat for us and gave us a small cash gift that enabled us to go to lunch together. Another couple hired us to help them reroof and the money we earned meant we could buy a new pair of shoes for one of the children, and we felt so happy that we could actually make some of the money that we needed. We were preparing to give a Marriage Encounter Weekend, and couples brought us meals so we could focus on finishing our talks.
Before he died, my husband told me that all the money we had saved had already been tithed on, so that it would be entirely up to my discretion as to what I donated. He forgot about the life insurance, so I now have the ability to be more generous than I might otherwise have been, and I feel truly enriched to be continuing the legacy that he left for all of us.