Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas Church—October 18, 2013
The Mission of St Thomas Church is to Worship, to Nurture, to Serve, Together in Christ
Competition seems to be everywhere in our culture: class standing; grade point average; corporate title; income tax bracket; make, model and year of the car, motorcycle or boat; size of the television; number of reps or miles run in a workout session... you can complete or modify the list to fit your own life. The race to the top, and being “Number One” seem very important. It can even spill over into charitable giving to any number of worthy causes – good results for the charitable cause, but at what cost to the giver?
It isn’t new to our time and situation. In Sunday’s gospel Jesus talks about two men: a Pharisee and a Tax Collector. The Pharisee’s prayer was full of thanksgiving that he was not like others who were thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like that tax collector. His prayer went on to be a litany of all the good things he did, including fasting regularly, and giving a tenth of his income. The Tax Collector, however, was asking for God’s mercy because he knew he was a sinner. Jesus message: the Tax Collector went down to his home justified, for “all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Perhaps the Pharisee would have better prayed prayers of thanksgiving for what he had, and for the opportunity his wealth of placement and good habits gave him to be of service to others not so well placed.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that we should not be proud of our wealth, or feel guilty for having it, but should instead use our wealth to help others, all to the glory of God.
From this week’s Flourish in Faith insert we are given these Reflection Questions:
What are the various motivations for giving? Is it easy to fall into pride and/or into shame about giving? How do judgment of others and judgment of self get in the way of receiving God’s grace?
Lots to think about...
Peace and blessing, Carol