You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich; you have become kings without us! (1 Corinthians 4:8)
When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. (1 Corinthians 4:13)
May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones. (Ephesians 1:18)
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. (Luke 1:53)
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. (Matthew 10:8)
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
In light of the economic difficulties many in the U.S., and all over the world, are currently experiencing, it may be hard to think about giving our “riches” away. But yet, that is our call as Catholic men. But what could Paul have possibly meant when he told the Corinthians that they “have already grown rich” (1 Corinthians 4:8)?
Most members of the Corinthian church were among the poorer people in that city. Few of them possessed what the world of their day considered riches; probably none did, considered by our standards today. But what are the riches Paul is talking about. How about our ability to bless others even when ridiculed, to endure when persecuted, and to be gentle even when slandered (1 Corinthians 4:13)? What about the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) and the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that we have received? These are treasures that any of us can have, regardless of how much money or how many “things” we may or may not possess. And aren’t these the riches that really matter anyway!
As Catholic men, God has given us so much! We have the Scriptures and the sacraments, the Spirit and the Church. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have received wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fortitude, and so many other gifts (Isaiah 11:2). And Paul prayed that we would know these riches with greater and greater clarity (Ephesians 1:18). Why? Not so that we could rejoice in our wealth but so that we would know that we-every single one of us-have so much to offer other people.
Peace, divine love, joy, freedom from sin, even physical healing-how could we earn any of these? We have received much, as men whose empty hands the Father has filled with good things (Luke 1:53). And what does Jesus tell us? “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Matthew 10:8). He is saying, “Use what you’ve received to build the kingdom of God and to bring glory to my Father.”
So the challenge is to give away what you’ve received. Don’t worry about what it is, or how much you have, or how it stacks up against what anyone else has received. Just give it away! Has God shown you his love and forgiveness in a particular way? Tell someone about it. Do you enjoy getting together with other men? Form a men’s group in your parish or, if you are already in one, invite a man to come to your next meeting. Have you experienced a physical healing? Pray with someone else for healing. Do you know a man that has stopped coming to Mass? Invite him to have a beer with you, and then at the right time, ask him to attend Mass with you. There’s no end to what Christ can accomplish through you because he dwells in you (Colossians 1:27).
“Father, in your infinite riches, you have given me everything I have. Show me today how and where to give it away. I believe that even as I do, you will fill me with more and more.”
Maurice Blumberg is on the Board of Directors of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men and Chairmen of the Board of The Word Among Us.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- 1. What is your reaction to the title of this article, i.e., the call to give Christ’s riches away?
- 2. How would you describe the kinds of “riches” we are called to give away?
- 3. What are some of the riches you have received from the Lord?
- 4. How well do you think you are doing in giving these riches away? What are some steps you can take to improve?
- 5. If you are in a men’s group, what steps can you take together to give your riches in Christ to others? Using the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point, pray for one another for the wisdom, grace, and courage to take the necessary steps.