Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Having the Tithe of Your Life

This time of the year (Lent) brings us face to face with sacrifice.

Give to the poor.

Take care of your brother.

Do unto others.

Does anyone else want that last incredible piece of fried chicken?  No?  Well, it shouldn't go to waste...

Sorry, distracted.

Anyway, I'm always amazed by the relatively small offerings noted in the church bulletin.  Let's see, 250 registered families, assume an average household income of $40K a year, 52 weeks a year, probably giving half to other maybe 5% should come to the church?

I know, funny.  

That 5% would come in at $500K a year in that scenario, and the reality is closer to $200K.  

And let's be honest--we've all seen the basket come by with ones and fives dropped in.  So that $200K is from a few folks doing heavier lifting.

I think there are a lot of influences here.  

Habit keeps us doing the same thing we were doing 10 years ago (or 20 years ago).  Guilty as charged.  Things cost a lot more now, but I'm doing a lot better, too.  

Poor planning.  Most people's financial planning is not so great.  The desire to help their neighbor and support the church is there, but where will we get the money?  It doesn't grow on trees you know.  As a nation last summer, we barely kept our SUV's full of $4 gas...whew!

Punishing the church over your conflicts with the Church.  Not a position I'd want to defend someday.

I have a great solution to help you out.

Give 1%.  That's right, $1 out of $100.  $40K household income?  $400 a year, or $8 a week.  For many Catholics, that would be a little less than what we are doing now.  That's OK.  Resist the temptation to pitch in a $10.   Take the time to break that $10 before Mass--gum, donut for after Mass, Sunday paper.

Pitch the $8 in the basket because YOU HAVE A PLAN!

In 3 months, you sacrifice again.  2%.  $16 a week.  Write a check so you can get the tax deduction.  The $2 you were saving in the first 90 days--heck, that offsets most of the increase.  The average home has $92 in loose change tucked into drawers, sofa cushions, and change jars.

Whew, 2% is covered.  Now, for some this is already an improvement, so congrats!

90 more days, and we are up to 3%.  Now that sacrifice thing is kicking in a bit.  But if you are used to $16 a week now, you aren't really finding $24 now, right?  Just another $8.  

Let's see.  One lunch out.  The usual vices, cigarettes and beer--keep those.  I'm not after your vices.  This should be more fun than deprivation.  How about reviewing the bills and get rid of one thing you don't really benefit from (this does not include the money you are giving to church...).

Another 90 days, and you are back to Lent 2010.  4%.  Surely sometime in the past year you have gotten a raise worth $8 a week?  If not, give up a little beer or scale back your Netflix to 3 movies at a time.

Last time:  15 months after you started, you are now giving 5% to your church.  Our Church.  Changing the face of Catholicism with your sacrifice.  Father greets you at the door by name, and appreciates that you are giving $40 a week (the big leagues).

That wasn't so hard, was it?

Be "Anonymous" if you wish:  what percentage do you give to the church each week?  Could you do this plan?

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