Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tithing means making a difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors

How shall we live when we have renounced everything?  What quality of life will there  be if everyone sells all and forsakes all?  Do not ask me the rationale behind our Lord’s command.  The Lawgiver knows well how to bring what is possible into agreement with the law.  Your heart is tested, as it were, upon the fulcrum of the scale, inclining now towards the true life, now towards present enjoyment.  It befits those who possess sound judgment to recognize that they own enjoyment; thus, when they are parted from it, they rejoice as those who relinquish what is not really theirs, instead of becoming downcast like those who are stripped of their own.

When wealth is scattered in the manner which our Lord directed, it naturally returns, but when it is gathered, it naturally disperses.  If you try to keep it, you will not have it; if you scatter it, you will not lose it.  “They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” (Psalm 112:9)  From the writing of St. Basil the Great: On Mercy and Justice.


Several weeks ago I published here an article which was a letter that had been sent out to the parish’s mailing list.  It was an appeal for help for our community center.  It included a very short piece in tithing.  It mentioned that never in all my years as a priest had I mentioned, preached, or spoken upon the obligation to tithe.  Perhaps I should not that time either.  Did you know that you can set up a search spider to look all over the world wide web for anything?  Someone was looking for the word tithe.  The next thing I knew my article was being referred to on a Yahoo Discussion group on tithing.  It seems that there are those who do not believe that we are required to do so.  I joined the list, read everything ever posted, and even posted one or two times before unjoining.

I know that what I am going to say does not apply to all on that list, but for most it is true.  Some of what they wrote was justified.   But from the tone of many of the posting, it is clear that many like their money far better than they love their God.

Jesus sacrificed His life for me...and everyone on that Yahoo Discussion group and everyone else.  Jesus made a difference in the lives of His friends and neighbors.  Those on that Yahoo Group are not making the difference in any of the lives of their friends and neighbors.  They are not even coming close to make a sacrifice as Christ called us to do. Christ did not call us to talk and discuss.  He called us to do.  He called us to make a difference in others lives.   We bring people to Christ not by preaching, but rather by living our lives as Jesus taught us.

The Mor Gregorios Community Center is all about living our lives as Jesus taught.  The center is all about making a difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors. To that end we have several public programs offered to anyone who walks in the front door, to those of faith and to those of no faith.  Some of those programs include:
  • Employment Program:  Help from training volunteers to file unemployment claims and weekly reports.  Help with online job searches, preparing resumes, learning and practicing interview skills, and other employment related activities.
  • Recovery Program:  12-Step classes and small groups for those suffering from addictions, hurts, hang-ups, and other problems, either their own or those of a loved one.
  • information & Referral:  Case management. Provide information and referral to emergency assistance and to the agencies and programs.
  • Community Development:  Help with community outreach, mentoring, and community development to individuals and other groups.

Several individuals and organizations have helped provide much of the computers and other equipment used at the Mor Gregorios Community Center.  Indiana Workforce Development provided some of the computers and trained our volunteers.  Ancilla College provide more computers. And several people give of their time and experience to help.

Right now if you want to make a difference email us at monastery@synesius.com or call the center and church at 574-540-4028.  We need help.  We need more volunteers.  We need additional equipment and furniture.  We also need a way to make this month’s utility bill.

Who are the people who have volunteered their time?  Some are the clients we serve.  While they may be in need, they also know that they can make a difference in the lives of their friends and neighbors.  So what about you?  Are you going to make a difference?

The Mor Gregorios Community will be dedicated on Saturday, April 4, 2009, starting at 10 am.   Please join us in praise and thanksgiving that our Lord has let us make a difference.  See what we are all about and what we are doing.  And bring your check book.  None of the funds we receive pays anyone’s salary.  No one here is paid, and that includes me. All give their time freely. And some have given every thing they own. Some of the volunteers are also out clients. The power and gas do not get turn off until the next week.  But then you can help with that. Again, bring your check book.

The Mor Gregorios Community Center is located in the A-Frame on the corner of Oak Hill and Michigan Street across from the Webster Elementary School.  The exact address is 1000 South Michigan Street, Michigan Street, Plymouth, Indiana 46563.

So to those on that Yahoo Discussion group, turn off your computers, get out of your house and in your car, and drive over to Plymouth, Indiana on Saturday, April 4th, and join all of us in prayer and thanksgiving.  Make a difference in the lives of your friends and neighbors.

Everyone on the Yahoo Discussion can most likely quote the Bible far better than me.  So I ask them to turn to the end of Revelation.  I know if they read, they will find where is says that at the end we all will stand before Christ on His throne and be judged for what we have done.   So how are you going to argue to Christ about your great intellectual agreement about tithing?  What are you going to say about protecting your money lying in the bank where it fails to help even one of your friends and neighbors?

We are making a difference in the lives of our friends and neighbor.  Why are you failing to do so?  There is a comment button below.  Let the world know your answer.

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