As a young man, the Lord called me to serve him with my life. As I sorted through what that meant, and in my wanting to give everything to Him, I somewhat recklessly gave away most of my savings. It was shortly after that, that I joined an ecumenical Christian community that brought a greater sense of meaning and balance to my life. It was there that we were encouraged to tithe on our income, giving to our community, our churches or other charitable works. Since this value had been instilled in me, it was not difficult to continue to tithe once my wife and I were married. In addition to tithing our income, we have also been called to give more of ourselves—of our lives—than we ever imagined. And through saying “yes” to this call, we have grown in a deep trust in the Lord and His care.
One striking example of this is, nineteen years ago, when I lost my last job. I was blessed with the opportunity to start work at a private high school. It was a risk, because it was a 25% cut in the salary I had been getting. When I expressed my worry, the person who hired me said that if this is where the Lord wants me, then He will take care of me. I can attest to the Lord’s care over the following years.
He called me to trust Him even more when I was called to become a deacon in the Catholic Church. Through responding to that call, I was truly able to give my entire self to the Lord through that vocation. Prior to beginning diaconate formation, I was very faithful to tracking all of my income and expenses and following a budget. With the time demands of formation and where the Lord was leading me, I felt that I was supposed to let go of that area of my life and trust in the Him to take care of us—without having to watch every penny. I gave my all to the Lord to be a deacon and trusted that he would take care of us.
Through this attitude of trust, I have really experienced His care. While I am often stretched for time and energy, the Lord provides. I am able to do what He wants and the rest is not so important. Financially, we are doing okay, and I have learned to leave the rest in His hands. We are saving for retirement but probably not at the pace the experts say we should. That is okay with us, as we are investing in the next world—investing in eternal life.
Once, on a beautiful fall day, I had a lot of yard work to do. At some point during the work, I looked at the time and realized it was about time to quit—it was time for Mass. (As a deacon, I am to get my strength from the Eucharist, so I try to get to daily Mass.) But, I considered not going that day, since I had plenty to do and the weather was right for it. Thankfully, the Lord seemed to speak to me right as the thought popped into my mind: “Life is too short to not spend it preparing for eternity”. I said: “I hear you Lord,” quit work for the day and went to Mass. Those words have meant so much to me over the years and have guided me in my priorities.
Learning to trust in the Lord’s care takes patience, willingness and experience. Throughout my life, I have been continually reminded that we must be willing to give everything to the Lord, and in that, He will take care of us.
—Deacon Jerry Rynda was ordained a deacon in 2007 for the Diocese of La Crosse, WI. He also serves as the Coordinator of Pastoral Field Education for the Deacon Formation program in the Diocese of La Crosse.
For more on tithing and the creative ways we can give back to the Lord, take a look at our issue of the CRL magazine Offering Our First Fruits.