“Jesus sat down and watched the crowd putting money into the Temple treasury. Many rich people offered large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth a penny. Then Jesus called His disciples and said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all the others, for they contributed out of their abundance; this widow, in her poverty, has put in all that she has’.” (Mark 12:41-44)
The poor widow doesn’t give to fulfill an obligation or meet a particular need. She doesn’t give because she’s pleased with how the money will be used (recall that Jesus has very critical words for the corrupt Jewish religious leaders in charge of the Temple treasury). She doesn’t give to be an upstanding member of the community. Rather, she senses a personal need to give sacrificially, in recognition that God is the Giver of all things. Our lives and ‘things’ are blessed, multiplied, and enter eternity when we voluntarily offer them back to God, the rightful Owner.
Orthodoxy understands 3 prongs within stewardship: the offering of time, talents, and treasures. You can make monetary offerings through:
- check / cash;
- clicking the green Tithley button (below or to the right; 1% fee for bank transfers, 3% fee for credit card);
- setting up automatic monthly checks through your bank (no charge).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a ‘member in good canonical standing’?
Parish membership is sometimes reduced to monetary offering in a given year. This is a gross and misleading distortion. We might describe a ‘member’ as an individual seeking union with Christ, beginning with Baptism / Chrismation and continuing throughout life. We are united to Christ in the Sacraments (Holy Communion, Confession, etc.), in worship, in prayer, in fasting, in almsgiving, in repentance – in offering our entire selves to God and to others, down to our innermost thoughts. Naturally, part of our union with Christ is expressed concretely in how we offer ourselves to our particular parish.
Why should I give?
- To help us remember that everything we have comes from God.
- To express our gratitude to God.
- To express our love for God.
- To support the work of God through the life of the Church.
- To fight against self-love and all its manifestations, including the idolization of personal comfort and security.
- We give because Christ gives us everything. He steps down from royal dignity joins us in the pain and confusion of fallen life. God’s self-emptying love reaches all the way to the Cross, letting go of all personal ambition and even life itself. This self-offering of boundless love – the essence of divine life – is where authentic meaning is found.
How much should I give?
According to the spirit of the poor widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44), we should give more than we can afford. God is understanding, though, and does not crush us at once with the absolute demands of the Gospel. He works with us where we are and seeks our continual movement upwards. In the Old Testament, God’s people were accustomed to tithing: that is, offering 10% of their earnings / harvest. There is no minimum or ‘membership fee’; we give proportionally, sacrificially. Perhaps we can begin with offering 2-3% of our gross annual income to the Church; we begin with this and increase over time, according to our desire.