A Christmas Message from Archbishop Moon Hing of the Church of the Province of South East Asia.
Does God have a share in our surplus?
Christmas is always believed to be a TIME of Giving. It began when God first gave His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to be born in Bethlehem and eventually became a sacrifice for the redemption of the world. It is during this festive time over the centuries where churches and Christians all over the world celebrate and exchange gifts with each other and give gifts to the poor and needy in their vicinity and beyond.
The world is and has always consisted of various categories of people, the very rich, the very poor and a large pool of people in the middle with low income to high income. Many governments have tried to eradicate poverty by redistribution of wealth, sharing of resources, creating jobs and investments, providing basic education and medical care, redeployment of populations, the transference of technology, transmigration, the employment of migrant workers but the success story is yet to be seen in any nation. This has also become the United Nation Millennium Development Goals. There is no easy solution to this issue as long as there are people who constantly hoarding wealth, wasting natural resources and depriving others of a decent living. However, if all of us can be conscious and adopt the Millennium Development Goals and try to work towards achieving it first within each of our own families and our small communities, even in a small way, I believe the MDG is achievable.
We need to recapture the Spirit of Christmas, not only during this festive time but daily. We realised that Christians are urged to tithe which is 10 per cent of their incomes to God through their churches. Some have done so and there are still others who should start and join in the blessings. For the Scripture reminds us that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). To many Christians, tithing is a duty or command i.e. we have to give. This should not be so, instead the Spirit of Christmas speaks of giving out of our own portion, let alone our surplus. Can we at this Christmas season first begin to give out of our abundance i.e. over and above our basic necessities? Can we, therefore, give out of our surplus? In other words, does God have a share in our surplus? By so doing, we are challenging our attitude towards the temptation of hoarding and wastage.
We need to adopt a simple lifestyle i.e. live within the means. After deducting our basic necessities, any extras are surplus. These surpluses are the blessings God has given to us to manage as stewards or as benefactors on His behalf so that the poor and needy can be supported and helped. Do we and can we also tithe our surpluses? Why not? According to the Scripture, we are only stewards of the Lord, and all that so-called asset and wealth that belong to us are actually His. We only help to manage His affair. So in giving, we are actually helping in the re-distribution of His wealth.
Let us at this Christmastide, give out of our surpluses as stewards of the Lord on His behalf; lest, we been found hoarding His wealth and wasting His resources.
“Love is giving until it hurts.” (Mother Teresa)
Archbishop Ng Moon Hing