Forget the death tax. There’s something creepier out there than what happens to our inheritance after we die. What’s really hair-raising is that everything we’re currently gripping is going to be taken out of our hands, all in a moment. Between one breath in this world and the next dawn in the great beyond, everything we hang onto will not be “ours” anymore. Well, not quite everything. We do lose money, houses, cars, internet access, and everything in the garage and storage unit. We can’t hang onto popularity, prestige, or what’s on our résumés. We can’t cling to roles and relationships, as Jesus assures those who argue over whose wife a much-married woman will be in heaven. We can’t even hold onto what we’ll look like in eternity. But we do get to keep what we did “for the least of our sisters and brothers”. So make a note: The real death tax is steep. Investing in the poor is the best way to make a killing.
How much have you saved up in the account of things that matter to God?
Assign a number to the percentage of your resources (material and personal) currently invested in the poor Christ. The traditional tithe is ten percent. Think of ways to increase your contribution or find practical ways to help the poor and those living on the margins.
Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with God’s label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
The Scripture (Luke 12: 15)
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Speaking to the people, Jesus went on, “Take care! Protect yourselves against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot”.
A few years ago, a community of sisters asked me to consider joining them. The superior said, “Just get rid of your stuff and come on down”. I began to think about ‘all my stuff’ — my photo albums, my collection of antique pottery, my mother’s jewellery. While the offer was tempting, my stuff had become very important to me. What do you value in life? What keeps you from following the gospel? These are the hard questions that God asks us. The ideal is to value things that are compatible with Jesus’ teaching. Family life is one of those values that enrich the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we choose to support life and give up material wealth to welcome children into our marriages, we are honouring gospel values. When we put aside a career promotion to spend more time with our families, we are living the call to love as Christ loved. When we walk away from personal pleasure for the good of our own salvation and our family we are following Christ. To make these hard choices takes mindfulness, looking at all of our choices and deciding which will enhance our faith or diminish it.
May generosity be your watchword!
We will share from our plenty. We will give for the needy. We will praise lavishly. We will encourage frequently. We will care passionately. We will love wholeheartedly.
And the God whose generosity was shown in Jesus Christ will go with you!
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