Today’s passage from the Hebrew Scriptures has us again consider Moses speaking to the people (Dt 26:4-10). Here he reminds them of what God did for them, leading them out of a land of oppression (Egypt) to the cusp of the Promised Land (Canaan). This land is “flowing with milk and honey,” (v. 9) meaning that it is rich in natural resources, an exquisite place to finally call their own after two generations of wandering.
We in the United States have been blessed to live in a land of abundance as well. What should follow from our acknowledgment of this? The last line of today’s first reading says: “Then you shall declare in the presence of the LORD, your God…’Therefore, I have now brought you the firstfruits of the products of the soil which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And having set them before the Lord, your God, you shall bow down in his presence.” So we should give back the best to the Lord (after all, we are only returning a small portion of what He gave us) and thank Him and worship Him for what He has provided.
It is easy to forget the blessings poured upon us in our own land of plenty. But we must remember to give back a share to the Lord. Commonly, the biblical concept of tithing (actually discussed in the verses immediately following this reading [vv.12-15] and elsewhere) is generally implemented today by donating ten percent of one’s income (of course, more if one is able) to church and other charitable causes. While this can be a challenge to the economically disadvantaged, one should make an effort to donate at least something to worthy causes. This can be in the form of money (treasure), but it can also be done in the forms of time and talent.
In terms of treasure, except in the most dire circumstances, surely we can cut out some luxury or extravagance, or even something dear but not absolutely necessary, and offer it to God. Time is precious, but eternity is more so; we must consider (additional) ways we can serve God and neighbor. A special talent worth sharing can often be done at home, especially in our increasingly interconnected world.
May we never become so caught up in our own daily lives that we forget the abundant blessings that are ours due to the country in which Providence has placed us. May we ever be cognizant of the corporal works of mercy demanded of us by our faith and share abundantly and unhesitatingly our bounty with those in need.