Friday, 30 March 2018

A Complainer or a Contributor Art Thou?

I sometimes wonder whether some of us are complainers or contributors. It seems easy and convenient to complain and demand many things from the church, especially where one’s convenience or comfort is at stake, and some even seem to have a sense of entitlement to various services and assistance that the church, in their mind, is expected to offer. But how many of us are contributing a fair and just share for the growth and mission of the church?

For example, every once in a while, I hear of complains that the church toilet is dirty or some part is damaged, but how many are willing to help maintain proper cleanliness; or contribute to the cost of ensuring that the toilets are clean or even to the cost for repairs to be made? Some also complain that the weather is so hot, and that the church should be air-conditioned, but when such persons are asked whether they would be willing to contribute to the purchasing, maintenance, repairs and other expenses such as electricity for such air-conditioning to function reliably, such persons all of a sudden become mute or try to change the topic. Some even expect anything and everything concerning church to be free of charge, even though it is obvious that there are many kinds of expenses which need to be paid and money does not fall from the sky.

Also, I wonder whether there are some who are shirking in their duty and responsibility in offering a fair and just contribution for the upkeep of the parish. For example, supposing a parish has 10,000 parishioners, and supposing 5,000 are working adults (for the sake of simplification, students and those who are retired are not included, though if they are willing and able to help, then praise the Lord). Supposing each individual who is working contributes RM10 per month (not even a week, just a month, and what's more, what is RM10? For a person who has a salary of RM1,000, RM10 is only 1%. For those who happen to take home a much larger salary, RM10 is a mere pittance compared to what some seem to own, such as a fancy car, a big house, some luxurious club membership; branded clothes, bags and other accessories; holidays to exotic destinations; or even the latest and greatest gadget or gizmo). If everyone were to contribute a fair and just share, the parish ought to be having about RM50,000 (or more) a month in contributions for various parish expenses and mission efforts. But the reality is, how many of our parishes do get such contributions each month? Or have some persons become so used to conveniently offering pittance (some don’t even bother to contribute anything), instead of giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God?

So what does this tell us? Complaining is easy. People can demand the sky for their benefit, comfort and convenience. But how many are willing and generous in contributing fairly and justly for the good of all? Remember that money does not grow on trees, and just as funds are needed to support yourself and your loved ones, funds as also needed for various needs in a parish. Are you willing to be a generous and willing contributor, for the good of all?

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