"What would jesus do" advice concerning giving

I’m interested in learning about what the Catholic church teaches on the topic of giving.
Jesus calls us to live like him, and in certain protestant circles this is interpreted to mean “give till it hurts”. The story of Jesus and the rich young man (Gospel of Matthew 19:16–30, the Gospel of Mark 10:17–31 and the Gospel of Luke 18:18–30) indicates that we need to go to an extreme and sell everything, not worshipping money and depending entirely on God.
I agree, but at the same time isn’t money a resource which god gifts us with? This passage has really been getting to me lately and I’ve been convicted to use my money entirely for Gods glory, however I’m not sure how best to go about doing that. For example I have lots of savings, do I just donate them all to the church or charity, or just dump them all on a random hobo? Surely not… the hobo would probably blow it all on drugs and booze.

Also, while on a personal level I’m not completely averse to just dumping all my money and taking to the street, I don’t see how that benefits society in the long term as I would become a total drag on the system. And what if I want to get married and start a family! Surely in this case it would be making things unnecessarily harder on my wife and children if I had sold everything I owned and given everything to the poor. Surely I can be strategic about it by using my money to have a modest roof over my head, clothing, food, some savings etc, enough to turn up looking respectable at work. And then I’ll have the ability to generate further income, to support my family and to give generously AND continuously.

At the same time I feel a little rebuked by the book of james:
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Does this mean that I shouldn’t be planning to start a family (which I’m seriously considering) etc, and that using this as a reason to hold onto my savings is really just an excuse and against the will of god?

Also who does the command to give generously apply to? Does this mean I should only give to the church? or does it mean I should give to all the homeless I see as I walk past on the way home? Is money really what they need? surely the gospel is what they need? Is it ok if I withhold my money but give them my time (by offering to buy meals, have a chat with them, get to know them etc)?

What about the fact that I have a large amount of savings but am currently studying and have no income? every 6 months I lose $7000AUD in rent alone. If I give too generously then eventually I will have to give up on my studies and find a job/move elsewhere.

Is there an encyclical or church statement/elaboration that can set me straight on how to give, how much I should be giving, whether I need to be as extreme as Jesus calls me to be etc? I’d rather not be the rich man squeezing through the eye of the needle…

I read something somewhere about an idea of “perfect charity”, maybe it is relevant?

(Apologies if this post is incoherent or poorly organised. I’m incredibly sleepy)

As Catholics we are called to be good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure. We are called to be good stewards and generous in all three areas.

The Church has many documents on stewardship that you can google and read. They may help you to understand the approach better.

Also the Catechism has a section on stewardship.

Radical poverty-- giving everything up-- is not something that everyone is called to. If one is called to such a life, one is given the graces and spiritual preparation for it. Most people are not called to that particular way of living out their lives.

Sure enough!

But, OP, we must resist the temptation to use this claim as rationalization for not answering the call we are obligated to as Catholic Christians of Radical Charity.

Peace and all good!

God wants us to be good stewards of what He gives us. This is usually related to our state of life. A person who is called to radical poverty, like St Francis of Assisi, is *not *called to marriage, which would require the opposite of radical poverty.

You are a student, and need your money for rent. Unless you feel called to radical poverty, keep your money and use it wisely, which your post indicates you are doing.

However, doing little things makes our almsgiving spiritually effective. So, if one or two days a week we take in a home-made lunch instead of buying a fast-food lunch, and we use the money saved to help the poor, then we have done something good.

We should not live as luxurious a lifestyle as our finances will permit; we should forgo some luxury in order to help the poor. It is not all that spiritually effective to have so much money that we can’t figure out how to spend it and give some of *that *money to the poor: giving should pinch.

And if one ends up in the state of life of marriage, one has people whom one is obliged to support in a suitable manner, and that too requires wisdom in our finances. But asking something like that meat be given up on another day in addition to Friday and giving the savings to the poor is a part of that.

Hope this helps…

As 1ke has said it basically is that we are called to be good stewards of what we are given both monetarily and talent wise.

Jesus calls us to live like him,

I’m not familiar with this call, could you share the passage?
I am aware that we are called to take up our cross and follow Him. We are called to become “like him” in love…to be “Christ Like”. But I’m not sure what you mean by “Jesus calls us to live like him”.

and in certain protestant circles this is interpreted to mean “give till it hurts”.

Yes - and this can be a dangerous thing…

The story of Jesus and the rich young man (Gospel of Matthew 19:16–30, the Gospel of Mark 10:17–31 and the Gospel of Luke 18:18–30) indicates that we need to go to an extreme and sell everything, not worshiping money and depending entirely on God.

It is important to note that Jesus did not tell the Rich young man to sell everything until the rich young man pressed the issue with Him.
Yes we need to not worship money. Money is a tool…nothing more. We can use it for the glory of God or not, and this can happen in many ways.
The person who lives modestly while owning a business that employs 10 or 20 people is being just as good a steward as one who gives money to a soup kitchen to feed 10 or 20 people.

I agree, but at the same time isn’t money a resource which god gifts us with? This passage has really been getting to me lately and I’ve been convicted to use my money entirely for Gods glory, however I’m not sure how best to go about doing that. For example I have lots of savings, do I just donate them all to the church or charity, or just dump them all on a random hobo? Surely not… the hobo would probably blow it all on drugs and booze.

We all have this problem…this concern and there are a couple of ways to deal with it…
First of all let’s recognize that we are not responsible for how someone uses money that we give them. If we give money to someone in need - this is a good thing. how they use the money is on their head.
That said - it is often best to give to specific charities so that the money can be properly distributed. If you are concerned about seeing people in need and not giving directly to them, you might instead make note of these people and give so much per person you see to a specific charity.
Just an idea.

Also, while on a personal level I’m not completely averse to just dumping all my money and taking to the street, I don’t see how that benefits society in the long term as I would become a total drag on the system.

I would agree. One needs to be called to this form of radical asceticism. In the Catholic tradition such people often gather together in monasteries. Their they pray and work together so that they are not a drag on society.

And what if I want to get married and start a family! Surely in this case it would be making things unnecessarily harder on my wife and children if I had sold everything I owned and given everything to the poor. Surely I can be strategic about it by using my money to have a modest roof over my head, clothing, food, some savings etc, enough to turn up looking respectable at work. And then I’ll have the ability to generate further income, to support my family and to give generously AND continuously.

Absolutely.

At the same time I feel a little rebuked by the book of james:
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Does this mean that I shouldn’t be planning to start a family (which I’m seriously considering) etc, and that using this as a reason to hold onto my savings is really just an excuse and against the will of god?

Take this to God in prayer…He will guide you…

Also who does the command to give generously apply to? Does this mean I should only give to the church? or does it mean I should give to all the homeless I see as I walk past on the way home? Is money really what they need? surely the gospel is what they need? Is it ok if I withhold my money but give them my time (by offering to buy meals, have a chat with them, get to know them etc)?

This could be a wonderful ministry. I would discuss this with a priest or maybe look into some volunteer activities so you can see where your money and talents might be best utilized.

What about the fact that I have a large amount of savings but am currently studying and have no income? every 6 months I lose $7000AUD in rent alone. If I give too generously then eventually I will have to give up on my studies and find a job/move elsewhere.

Sorry - can’t advise you here…Too many variables…

Is there an encyclical or church statement/elaboration that can set me straight on how to give, how much I should be giving, whether I need to be as extreme as Jesus calls me to be etc? I’d rather not be the rich man squeezing through the eye of the needle…

I don’t know an encyclical but I think a talk with a good priest or deacon might help. There are so many ways to be charitable…so many avenues.
your heart is obviously in the right place…you just need to take a bit of time and get things sorted out.

I read something somewhere about an idea of “perfect charity”, maybe it is relevant?

Mt 5:48…you must be perfect (in love) as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The more we love God and neighbor - the more we embrace his Love - the more charitable we are in all things, whether monetarily or in some other way.

(Apologies if this post is incoherent or poorly organised. I’m incredibly sleepy)

you did fine

Peace
James

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