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31 Mar We Live to Give

“Man can only find himself through sincere gift of self” – Gaudium et Spes 22.

Why are we alive? What gives meaning and purpose to our lives? What reason do we have to get out of bed in the morning? What gives us hope and joy?

Career? It can for a time. Climbing the corporate ladder. Seeking success. Becoming the best at what we do. But in the end we eventually realize that we were made for more.

We were made to give ourselves away. To pour our lives out as a ransom for many. This is what Jesus showed us through the example of his life and death.

Jesus’ greatest act of love, when he poured himself out entirely, came during the greatest rejection. We can’t wait to give until others are ready to receive. We must initiate. We give and when they are ready they will receive. Our vulnerability in giving, provides others the courage to open up and receive our gift.

People may never receive. We can’t force them. But that doesn’t mean we stop giving. God is always pouring out his love and mercy on us, all we have to do is open our hearts to receive it. Likewise we are called to be generous with all that we have an when others are ready they will open their hearts to receive.

How do we start? Where can we learn how to give? How can we make a habit of giving?

Start by tithing. Giving away our material possessions is one of the easiest ways of giving and will train us in how to give. It opens the door and enables us to give more later. If we can’t even give of our possessions how can we give our time or our talents? How can we pour our lives out? How will we ever be able to die to ourselves?

Every journey begins with a single step. If we look at scripture the whole old testament is a story of God trying to teach his people how to be in relationship with him. He starts by asking them to offer sacrifice. To give their possessions as an offering.

Parenting or family is a great way to learn to give. Kids teach you that giving is essential. They have needs but can’t fulfill them so you must sacrifice for them.

Giving can be counter intuitive. We often imagine giving being hard and a trial but it also fills you with great joy. I experience great joy in earning money to buy food for my children. Whenever I bring home money I give it to my son to pass on to my wife. He gets so excited and with great pride he brings that money to my wife and she is able to use it to meet our family’s needs. It is a joy to share in the happiness that giving brings to others.

The more we give the easier it becomes to give more. I wrestled for years with the idea of tithing because we didn’t have much money and I thought “how can we give when we already do not have enough?” But as I read through Scripture it became more and more clear that we must give no matter what our situation and God will bless us if we are faithful. We need to trust Him to provide for us. And the amazing thing is that since we started tithing I have been less stressed about money and it brings joy to surrender ourselves to God. Please try tithing. It is amazing and it is a great starting place to train ourselves in giving.

The purpose of our life is giving and it is only in giving that we find true happiness.