July 15, 2022

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Our faith teaches us God will not be outdone in generosity

Richard EtienneI am not a development director. But I have been influenced by finance consultant Dave Ramsey in my understanding of personal finance, and I was always known to be quite frugal with my spending.

Many years ago I decided to tithe. I don’t share this to brag, but to tell of my personal experience. My mother always said, “God will not be outdone in generosity.” And I feel personally that it is true.

I have been very blessed with income throughout my professional career, and when it first began to flow I could not imagine giving 10% away.

Our family was not blessed with financial riches when I was born. My parents, who at a very young age lived through the Depression, taught us early in life about “the value of a dollar.” Thus, it was not easy for me to imagine “giving up” 10%. (Yes, I understand all I have belongs to God and that I am a temporary steward of the assets with which I am blessed.)

But I have been surprised throughout my life as I have tithed—to my parish, diocese and various charities—that I didn’t experience a feeling of poverty when I gave things away but, rather, the polar opposite.

I have been blessed to a point that I could never have dreamed—God’s gifts continue to pour back upon me and my family! This has allowed me to continue to give generously after my career ended.

In St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians we read, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:8). And in the Gospel of Luke we see, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you”

(Lk 6:38). Lastly, we read in Psalms, “May we be filled with the good things of your house, your holy temple” (Ps 65:5).

This is what I have experienced again and again—an overflowing of gifts back to me and my family. An image that continually stays with me is of a cornucopia—often seen at Thanksgiving—with gourds, corn, fruits and the like tumbling out of it.

It is my experience that our God won’t be outdone in generosity. Now is a wonderful time to review your “spirit of giving” and decide if there is further room to pass along more of what the Lord has given you.

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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