God loves a cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:7
People ask me almost every day how my “retirement” is going — usually with a smirk that lets me know that they know that I am probably failing at the process of slowing down. It’s certainly not a virtue that I can brag about. It’s more of an addiction that I try to hide.
One of the things I did when I retired is something I would like to share with my readers. I am not sharing it to brag or elicit admiration, but because it might be something you might want to try as well.
First, I will tell you about how I do it and then make some suggestions on how it might work for you.
In partnership with a friend of mine, I opened a separate checking account for charitable giving. We both put money into it regularly.
When I make extra money from doing extra work, such as giving priest retreats and filling-in for priests who need “coverage,” I put the money into that account. He puts money in monthly.
Out of that account, I do mission projects down in the Caribbean islands in the Diocese of Kingstown in the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
I also buy coats, telephone calling cards and fund other needs of the international seminarians at Saint Meinrad Seminary. Recently, I sent a Mexican seminarian home to visit his mother after three years, using frequent flyer miles that I had accumulated from doing priest retreats. I even bought some chicken coops for a monastery in Togo, Africa, as an ordination present to one of their monks who attended St. Meinrad Seminary.
Maybe some of you would like to open your own personal charity accounts and do odd jobs or take on special projects to put money into it. I think it would be great for parents to involve their children in such an account, challenging them to find ways to “make a little extra money” so as to add to the account.
If the whole family got involved, then the whole family could sit down once in a while and make “grants” from their own charity fund.
It could be a great way to teach children about giving, but also a way to educate them about the various organizations, situations and people who need help.
Even if you are not a parent, you could do this on your own. You could work that extra overtime hour or two even if you don’t need to, take on some special project that pays a little bit, hold a yard sale or sell some “good stuff” that you don’t really need. I have found that having a special checking account for that money is itself motivating.
My friend and I call our special fund “The R and J Mission Project Fund.” Something unique about our fund is that we will accept your unused frequent flyer miles from American, Delta and United Airlines.
Father J. Ronald Knott
To read more from Father Knott, visit his new blog: FatherKnott.com.