From the beginning of time, our Creator has given humankind the gifts of life and unconditional love. One day our God saw fit to provide us with the first fruits of love, the sacrificial offering of an only son, Jesus. Jesus gave His own life for us on the cross. He set an example for us: giving unconditionally and sacrificing so that others might live. We walk in the footsteps of Christ when we give sacrificially.
Make My Pledge
Have you discerned your gift, and are you ready to make your Stewardship Pledge?
Everything We Have is a Gift from God
The starting point for Sacrificial Giving is the basic principle of Christian stewardship—that everything we have is a gift from God. In gratitude for God’s generosity, we dedicate a portion of these gifts—our time, talent, and money—to furthering God’s Kingdom.
Gratitude and Trust
If we genuinely believe God gives us all we have, gratitude is one response. Trust is another. When we realize that God has provided for us and will continue to do so, we recognize our absolute security lies in God. Our God, who has given us all, will care for our future.
What are the Five Elements of Sacrificial Giving?
The degree of planning that goes into our Sacrificial Giving reflects the importance of our commitment to give. Unless we plan something, it doesn’t happen for most of us. Unless we consciously incorporate the amount of our giving into our regular budget, it becomes an optional expense and may be lost in the financial shuffle.
Planning our giving enables us to give the first fruits rather than some amount left over after “more important” obligations have been satisfied. The planning process can be a spiritual exercise, focusing our attention on our values and priorities— discernment.
Planning can also become an occasion for dialogue among family members about the commitment to give an education to lifelong Christian stewardship. Consider using the Other Half Worksheet, to help you plan and budget your giving.
How much should you give? Start with an assessment of your level of giving now. It is undoubtedly a proportion of your resources but is it a proportion that adequately reflects your gratitude for God’s generosity?
There is no magic number that represents the “right” amount. Although most people use the biblical concept of the tithe— a tenth as a guideline, the proportion you choose should be sacrificial and commensurate to what God has given you. In many instances, it is a goal we must work toward, recognizing that it takes time to re-orient our priorities.
Your Sacrificial Giving pledge is your return to God of a proportion of the gifts God has given you, which you choose to share with your parish. Your decision about your level of giving will make sense and truly reflects your gratefulness to God for the gifts you have received.
Perhaps the most critical outcome of Sacrificial Giving is its impact on the giver. It isn’t a sacrificial gift if you can give your gift and not notice it. The element of sacrifice is present when something about your life has to change for you to be able to give the gift. You re-order your priorities; you reconsider your values. And every time you give the gift, you are reminded of why you chose to give.
Sacrificial Giving is one way we have of walking in the footsteps of our Lord, who sacrificed everything so that we might have life. We give up something of ourselves so that life can flourish. When we give that way, we are changed.
When giving becomes Sacrificial Giving, it focuses our attention on the true source of our security. Sacrificial Giving bears witness to the reality that God alone will make us safe. Recognizing that reality and living it out constitutes a tremendous change in our lives.
And this can make an equally tremendous difference in the lives of others. The sacrifice we make by doing without some portion of our substance is just that: doing without so that life for others may flourish.
A Prayer for Thanksgiving
Too often, we want to separate the issue of giving, particularly the giving of money, from those more “spiritual” aspects of our faith life. Yet, the commitment to Sacrificial Giving is one of the essential expressions of our faith. Offering our gifts at Mass places them in an appropriate context of prayer and response to God.
In the offering, we can express our joy in having received and in being able to give. We can say, “Thanks be to God!” We can give back some portion of the tremendous gifts given to us, the most important of which we celebrate at the Eucharist. There is no better time to fulfill our commitment to Sacrificial Giving than in the atmosphere of prayer and thanksgiving.
Sacrificial Giving doesn’t buy anything. It doesn’t buy happiness or love or a tenfold return on our investment. The motive for giving a sacrificial gift is not the expectation of getting something back.
We can give what we give because God has already given to us. Sacrificial Giving is a response, then, to the generosity of God. We acknowledge that we are not the starting point for the giving but simply passing on a portion of what we have received.
How we give our gift is as important as the gift itself. A sacrificial gift has no strings. It is given freely as God has given to us because the motive for the giving is a grateful response rather than an expected return.
Time and Talent
Sacrificial Giving flows from an understanding that everything we are and have is a gift from God. When we give a portion of our time, talent, and treasure—money- we express our commitment to this reality.
When we consider our participation in Sacrificial Giving, we need to include our time, talent, and money. Just as in giving money, giving time and talent expresses our gratitude to God, who has given us these gifts. Our gifts of money do not substitute for gifts of time and talent. Neither time nor talent substitutes for giving of financial resources. All are gifts from God. As you decide about the portion of the income you will give this year to Saint Monica Catholic Church, to the San Antonio Archdiocese by way of the Annual Catholic Appeal other charities, consider as well what you will give of your time and talent.
Sacrificial Giving is a necessary expression of our faith, of what we say we believe.
Faith in Action
People make the time and find the money for what they value most. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must challenge each other to value God above all else. This belief will lead us to put our faith in action by finding the time and money to promote God’s priorities because we have also made them our priorities.