Archbishop William Goh discusses five spiritual reasons why the act of giving is an important aspect of the faith, in this adapted extract of his speech given at a Catholic Foundation Dinner held on 18 October 2017.
Many of us do not understand why we give. Very often when we give, we think we are doing God a favour, doing the Church a favour, or doing someone else a favour. Actually when you give, you do yourself the greatest favour, more than anything else.
In giving, we recognise that God is the source of all the blessings we receive. We are where we are today not only because we have worked hard, but because of God’s divine providence. He has sent the right people to us and given us the opportunities. Therefore, if we have the ability to give, it is only because God is the source of all blessings. Without Him, we would be nowhere.
This is why when we give, we are acknowledging that God is the creator of all things, and the giver of all things. That is the first reason why we give.
The second reason why we give is because we are called to be stewards of God’s blessings. God does not give us things only for our own use. We are all trustees of the resources and talents He gave us.
Sure, use what you need for yourself, for your families and loved ones. But many Catholics are blessed with more than enough. This is where we are challenged to ask ourselves: how do we use the resources that the Lord has blessed us with? Because at the end of the day, we are accountable to God and to our fellow men for how we use what God has blessed us with.
The third reason for giving is really so that we can share in the blessings of God. St Paul said that God blesses us with resources so that we can share in His blessings. What are the blessings in life that we are called to share?
When we give our time or resources, we receive fulfilment, meaning, and a joy that cannot be described. The capacity to give means to say we have shared in the heart of God.
The fourth reason why we give is simply because we are called to share and deepen our faith. Only those who have faith are willing to sacrifice what they have. Do you have faith in God’s providence? Do you believe that God will bless you when you bless others?
If you cannot give, if you are hoarding, it means that you do not believe that God will provide. That is why it is a test of faith. When you give and you show that you have faith in God, God cannot be outdone in generosity.
Archbishop William Goh discussing the spirituality of giving at the Catholic Foundation Dinner. Photo: Catholic Foundation.
But the most important reason why we give, is to share in the mission of Christ. Not all of us can become priests, not all of us can become religious. But all of us, without exception, every baptised Catholic and Christian is called to share in the mission of the Church, in the mission of Christ.
This means going beyond simply supporting the maintenance of the Church. If we are talking about mission, then the issue here is whether we are growing the Church, or are we simply maintaining it?
So my dear brothers and sisters, I just want to conclude by saying, let us thank God for the blessings we have and let us reflect on Christ who loved us. Christ was rich, He became poor so that we may be rich in Him. The Lord has blessed you, and the Lord is inviting you to bless the many people that need our support.
A series contributed by Catholic Foundation