Up there on the list of classic American board games have got to be games such as Clue, Sorry, Scrabble, and of course Monopoly. Has anyone actually finished a game of Monopoly? Without fixing things so they go a certain way it seems the only way the game really ends is if everyone gets distracted to the point it’s just better to give up OR or the person who is the banker decides to take the game into their own hands. Having all that play money to oversee can be enticing and you got to keep your eyes on the lookout for any mis-handling, especially if they’re related.
Monopoly may be just a game but at times we can be tempted to live our lives as if we are building our own empire—our own kingdom right here on earth. Certainly, the rich man from Jesus’ parable is an example of someone whose priorities are off balance. His first thought is how he can keep all the blessings he has received for himself. He already has boardwalk and park place but he still wants more just for himself. So what does he do, he figures out a way to expand his capacity so he can keep everything he has been given for his own benefit. This is what happens when we become so concerned with keeping up our status, wanting to reserve what we have for ourselves we can live without a sense of charity and it can make us cold and closed in. We can settle for being fine with how things are because WE are safe and secure where we are at. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta on her first visit to Canada as she was looking for a place for her sisters to reside and work with the poor when a donor from Montreal offered to give the order a house, and to provide the Sisters $10,000 a month for all of their expenses. Mother was very grateful but she said that if she accepted such a continuing gift that she would deprive her sisters of the joy of insecurity and dependence on God’s divine providence. She understood how seriously God desires to be an active part in providing His people with their basic needs—if only we place are faith in Him.
This is the whole point of tithing not just to make sure there is air conditioning in the Church, although don’t get me wrong we like that too, but tithing is primarily for the spiritual benefit of the giver. To have the opportunity to trust in the Lord and give from our resources is actually a part of living with an outward focus that expands our capacity in a spiritual way. We build bigger barns in the chambers of our heart when we give away what we wanted to keep for ourselves. There is a parishioner within our Region who lives in a nursing home and survives off of Medicare, what’s left for her monthly spending money is a whooping 40 dollars, and with this she insists that every week part of that money goes to the church.
Mother used to say that the meaning of love is to give until it hurts. This isn’t just in the realm of our finances but the call to be generous with all of who we are. Every parish survives off of the willingness of people to give of themselves. And this way of giving, focusing on the business of others is how we grow in faith and holiness.
I challenge us this week to look for an opportunity to be generous, to give of ourselves out of love for another, it could be something we’ve meant to do for a while, or something we are inspired to do for someone we don’t even know. When we live for others we store up a different kind of treasure, the treasure of love, and that’s what really matters to our God.