Grace to you!
With regard to giving back, there are at least two philosophies of life. They are “We live when we receive,” and “We live when we give back.”
Following these two philosophies of life are two groups of people: Those who believe they have come to receive and those who believe they have come to give back. The one philosophy of life says, “I am here to be served.” The other says, “I have come to serve.” The one seeks the crown and gets a cross. The other embraces sacrifice, the cross, and receives a crown!
These two classes of people exist in virtually every organization. In meeting and prayer rooms of church ministries, they are present too. They may be subtle. Look carefully, you will notice.
You will notice it in that humble man who is always looking for how to volunteer and does so with a big smile. You will notice it in the other man who rarely volunteers, and seldom gives a cup of coffee to anyone. Yet, he is constantly whining about how nobody helps him or sees things his way.
In our everyday life, we experience these opposing philosophies. One is opposed to the other, because when one is upheld, the other is suppressed.
I find in the mission of the twelve (Mt 10:7-15) the Lord’s insight into choosing to be givers rather than receivers. The key players in the story are Jesus, the twelve apostles and those to whom the apostles were commissioned and sent to evangelize.
The Lord sends. The missionary or evangelizer doesn’t send oneself. It is Jesus who sends. The directives are pretty straightforward. No hangovers. It has to be done with every measure of detachment and generosity. The evangelizer, the missionary, must be disposed to give without charge. First and foremost, he has to be the giver.
How about the evangelizer’s sustenance? Jesus promises the people would provide. “The laborer deserves his wages” (Mt 10:10).
Wait a minute, one may say. How would this work in real life?
I suggest it lies in our realizing that both the evangelizer and the evangelized, the pastor and the parishioners, the minister and the people have to think of themselves as givers, not simply receivers. As Saint Paul, adapting Proverbs 22:9, reminded the Ephesians during his farewell address: “Blessed is the hand that gives than the hand that takes” (Acts 20:35).
The person who receives God’s Word should realize that he or she has a spiritual obligation to give back. Give to your church. Give to the poor. Give back to your community. Give to others. Preachers should also see their role as that of givers and not careerists whose desire is to work for pay.
If the work of evangelization must be set apart from other economic relationships, then it has to be built on the gospel truth, not based on trade-by-barter deals. A spirit of Christian generosity must be the watchword.
Call it complementary? Yes, because if all give, all will complement one another. Subsidiarity? Yes, for regarding ministry, we help one another as God wills; a person’s strength should support another’s weakness; a person’s surplus, provision for the needy.
May there be a generous disposition in the ministry. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday Week 14: Hosea 11:1-4, 8c-9; Matthew 10:7-15]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.