Growing up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, I remember how each Sunday my mother would tie a few nickels and dimes securely into the corner of my handkerchief for me to give at Sunday school. I had only a vague idea of what those nickels and dimes did — perhaps helping missionaries in some far-off land — but I knew that giving to church was important.
Through those growing-up years, I was blessed to witness the faithful stewardship of my parents and grandparents through "firstfruits" giving and participation in their church. My parents taught me, through word and by example, that we each have a responsibility to share all that God has given us.
In Matthew 25:34-46 Jesus speaks of the importance of feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, taking care of the sick and visiting those in prison. He tells his followers: "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me" (25:40). This has always spoken to me. Not only are we to spread the gospel, but also we are called to serve those in need with our time, talents and sharing of possessions.
Do we really appreciate what our giving can do when we give to support the mission of the whole church?
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