From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris For August 5, 2018

I hope last week’s article was helpful in beginning to understand the spiritual significance of tithing. The spiritual benefits do not end there. I say spiritual benefits because we need to make clear that there is no direct correlation between tithing and personal prosperity.

There is a movement in certain Christian circles known as the “Prosperity Gospel.” Though this will be painting with broad brushstrokes, think of it like scam-artist televangelist. The scam-artist televangelist says that if you give them money, good things will happen to you: you will be cured, you will get richer, etc. The Prosperity Gospel is more general in that you don’t have to give money to this preacher or that preacher; rather, it is makes the general claim that your prosperity will grow the more you give.

Christ never made such a claim; in fact, He promised the opposite. Following Christ means taking up the Cross and suffering persecution at the hands of the world. Following Christ, growing closer to Christ, might, in demonstrable terms, make life worse.

It is true that the more we place our trust in the Lord, the more we live that trust every day, the more we open ourselves for God’s grace to transform us. That transformation might (heavy emphasis on “might”) have material benefits; God does bless His people with material goods. The primary transformation, though, is interior, in our spiritual life, in our relationship with God and our neighbor. It is the grace to endure peacefully whatever trials may come our way. It is the grace to rejoice in suffering, and to love ·day-in and-day-out. It is the-grace to serve faithfully in this life that we might reign in the next.

These are the real benefits that enrich life. Money, security, freedom, these are good things, but they are not what make life worth living. What makes life worth living is our dedication to our God and the enrichment that flows from living for the One who made us in His image and likeness. What makes life worth living is seeing ourselves and those we care about growing in holiness, becoming more God-like. This is what truly matters.

It is to this end that God called His people to tithe. Next week we will look at the even more that God asks of us.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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