Giving Back to God: An Idea to Consider for Lent and Everyday
Last Sunday while teaching our daughter’s Sunday school class we discussed for the second time how important it is to give back to God. So we did a little math problem on the board. And I asked the kids how much time in prayer we give to God each day. The kids all started thinking about when they would pray and how often and sadly, like many of us as adults, the amount of time is pretty small. I think the average adult who even prays at all prays an average of less than 3 minutes a day from a statistic I had heard in a men’s group I was involved in years ago. Just as I was challenging the kids a little I told them when I first heard this presented to me I started to think what if I just doubled the time I spent, which at the time was about 3-5 minutes per day. And so for lent that year I decided to pray a Rosary every day until Easter. The average Rosary if you keep it fairly simple and basic takes about 25-30 minutes to get through all of the prayers. And so in doing this Lenten promise I increased my prayer time by 10 tens what I had been doing before. So with the example I was using to talk to the students, I used 30 minutes as the simple “slice” of time. 30 minutes of our day is simply 1/48th of the time the Lord blesses us with each day. If time were a pizza and it were cut into 24 slices, or 24 hours, by simply praying 30 minutes a day I was offering God one half of the slice of the total pie.
God is starving for a relationship with us and for us to have a relationship with his son Jesus and to think if he was starving for food and we had a whole pizza in front of us, the thought of only offering him 1/48th of the pizza for nourishment is so selfish. But 30 minutes was ten times more than I had been doing before and considering my habit had been three minutes, I figured this was a start.
As I started to pray the Rosary daily I slowly started to see things in my life transform. I started having more success with my businesses (especially my painting business, which was my primary source of income), started finding better people to work for and with me, and work leads and confirmed jobs started to come in on their own, and referrals from customers started flowing in abundance. All the work I had been doing prior to create leads, find new clients, etc. hadn’t touched what was naturally coming in. It was saving me time, helping me make more money, and was reducing my overall stress as a self-employed business owner. Some might say it was luck, or hard work that had turned to more work success, but deep down I know it was a thank you from our Lord. A thank you for spending more time in prayer and honoring the things and individuals he longed for me to. But more transformations started to happen. As a promise to the Lord when I moved to self-employment, I promised to start tithing. As a cradle Catholic, tithing by religious and biblical definition, was never something I learned to do. But I did. I gave God 10% of everything I made from the jobs I was receiving. But I didn’t just give it all away to the Church. While I doubled the amount that I had been giving to the Church, I started giving at least $10 a week in the collection offering at mass (an increase from the $1-2 I normally gave), and occasionally I would put in a $20 bill. But I still had more in my tithe account savings and so what I felt the Lord wanted me to do was to give that money to others in need. And this is where my consulting work through Leadership & Legacy began to be transformed. I realized I had an abundance of money each month – anywhere between $500-800 to tithe and so instead of pursuing more consulting clients I decided to start offering my services for free and then just reimbursed myself from this account with a fair hourly rate. As a former research scientist, I found this new little experiment of mine to be something of an amazing ordeal. More and more work naturally started coming in and I would have more money in my tithe account by which to reach out and do more to serve others in need. For the first time in my adult life, I felt truly free. And it all came about after dedicating myself to more prayer and to praying the Rosary. As the days, weeks, and months came and went, and as Lent ended and Easter came, I decided to keep praying the Rosary daily as much as I could and used my drive time in the mornings to my job destinations as a quiet prayer time to let the Lord know I was wanting more and more time with him, with the Blessed Mother, and with his son Jesus. And I felt the blessings being poured down upon me. This freedom grew more and more and I ironically even started feeling a connection with the Founding Fathers. I started to feel almost as if I was back in the 1760s when they were developing the idea for our new and great nation, and when many such as Thomas Jefferson felt more in touch and blessed by God for the endeavors they were pursuing. It’s hard to imagine what was going on in the minds and hearts of our Founders, as only historical archives and diary accounts paint a portion of this picture, but I am almost certain they were connected in God in the hearts and minds and that he guided them through a very tricky and narrow path to the places where they were able to be victorious in all the necessary endeavors that allowed them to defeat England and the King’s rule and then develop and frame a new form of government with a document they all discussed and edited many times over before finalizing and signing their approval on.
What our Founders really discovered during this effort was God himself. In all his greatness and they dedicated a nation to his honor by inscribing the phrase “In God We Trust” on our currency, in our courts, and on many other historical buildings and symbolic figures of our nation’s existence. And God blessed them, and our nation for it. The Founders were true Patriots. But what does it mean to be a Patriot? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a patriot as “one who loves and supports his or her country”. So my question to all Americans and to those who call themselves Patriots, are you? Do you love this country? Would you lay down your life for it (your personal finances, your possessions, your careers, your hobbies and personal interests), to do what is necessary to secure this very unique and blessed nation? If not, why?
Several members of my leadership team (many of whom are remaining anonymous for personal reasons, but make no mistake are helping in great detail with our efforts) are warriors and have seen years and decades of battle in the Middle East. They know all well, the price of freedom. They have given so much, and are working with me to engage fellow Americans to join in the effort of engaging. So help us to restore again, this once great nation, to the greatness our Founders envisioned – “one nation under God, indivisible, with justice for all”.
As Americans we have become so desensitized to so many things – crime, injustices, abortions, teen suicides, school shootings, and the list goes on and on. And so much so that we have become so inundated with negative news and images that we have become almost paralyzed and stagnant, to the point of not engaging. What if we used more of our time, talent, and a small percent of the financial blessings we all have been given as a gift from God and we did with them exactly what the Founders did – we give much more than we ever take. In America we have freedoms and the right to choose to do something, rather than nothing. And in the case of restoring our nation to greatness again, this lays in our ability to reach our youth, to help them, and in many cases to heal them from all the scars from the many attacks they have had to deal with through divorces, drugs and alcohol, depression, and overall neglect (from our lack of time and attention to them). And this is the simplest way to put it – individually and as a country, either we abandon our “selfish” ways, or we continue to watch our children and our grandchildren suffer before us. . .
So I encourage you all to try out a little experiment if you will, and pray more everyday – discipline and hold yourselves accountable to it daily. I’m more than certain God will reach out to you and will let you know where to go with things from there.