Friday, April 11, 2008

In Cash We Trust?

I used to work for a very prominent Protestant/Evangelical television network.  

Every few months, there would be a parade of preachers, prophets, life-coaches, ministers, singers and mega-church pastors asking for your financial support.  All this set against the backdrop of one of their dozen studios across the country.  Studios built to look like castles and filled with gold-plated furniture, gaudy decor and multi-million dollar production equipment.

They would quote Old Testament Scripture about tithing, and blessings and, of course, sowing and reaping.  

The message was: Give, because you will be blessed.

There is a sense of expectancy... or worse, entitlement.

In my heart, I feel that the Catholic Church has a different take on giving.  Our message is: Give, and you will be blessed.

Our emphasis is on the giving, not the blessing.  We give because we should.  Because it is right. Because God wants us to share.

And in turn - because our hearts are in the right place - God blesses us.  After giving, our hands do not remain outstretched, waiting for our reward.  Our hands return to our hearts, folded in prayer to show our love for our Lord.

Maybe Catholics would give more - like our Protestant and Evangelical brothers and sisters - if we put our emphasis on what sort of return we can get back from our "faith investments." Catholic media struggles every day to stay on the air or even stay in business, while Christian media moguls fly from beach house to beach house in their own private jets.

One preacher on this network even went so far as to say, "How can you be a blessing to others, unless you have first been blessed?"  Meaning it is only with, and through, money that you can bless people.

Praise God for our faith, for Peter said, "I have not silver nor gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth - arise and walk!"

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