One of the Facebook groups I belong to shared a sad story. A young man, Nathan Trapuzanno, was out on his daily walk in the early a.m. on April 1st when he was mugged and shot; he died just a few hours later.
While an innocent 24 year old losing his life is tragic, what makes this story even worse is that he was a newlywed (his one year wedding anniversary would have been in May). His wife is 8 months pregnant with their first child.
As a Christian, stories like these can be difficult to bear. By all counts, Nathan Trapuzanno was an outstanding citizen, a devoted Catholic who said his rosary during his daily walks, and a man excited to be a new father. He was minding his own business when he was approached by two people, taken into an alley, and shot during an attempted robbery.
Situations like this can make us question the good in this world.
A Silver Lining
And yet, in this sad story, there is a silver lining. Trapuzanno’s widow’s cousin set up a Go Fund Me page asking for $10,000 to cover funeral expenses, with any remaining money to go for a baby fund for Trapuzanno’s wife, Jennifer, and his unborn daughter, Cecilia.
In only a few hours, the original amount of $10,000 was quickly met, and the goal was raised to $25,000. In a few hours more, that goal was met. Now, 16 days later, 3,133 friends and family of Trapuzanno as well as complete strangers have raised over $170,000 for Jennifer Trapuzanno and her unborn baby (at the time of this writing).
While none of us can change what happened to Nathan Trapuzanno, we can support his widow and unborn baby by making sure that Jennifer doesn’t have to worry about finances for some time so that she can grieve and raise her newborn daughter.
Giving: Our Duty As Christians
As Christians, many of us feel a desire and an obligation to give. Of course, many of us tithe regularly to our church, but we may also want to set aside money to give to particular causes such as Trapuzanno’s widow or others who are affected by unexpected events and natural disasters.
While many may not give because they don’t have a large amount to donate, keep in mind that no amount is too small. Donations on the Go Fund Me site for Trapuzanno are as small as $5.00 to as much as $500. Every bit helps.
Managing Our Finances To Become Better Givers
God blesses each of us with unique gifts and talents. The money we earn should help us meet our financial obligations, but it should also be used to help others. If we mismanage our money and spend foolishly, we limit how much and when we can give. (Of course, this is different from a situation where money is being handled properly but is very tight. In that case, being unable to give is understandable.)
However, if we are not able to give as generously as we would like because we’ve spoiled ourselves by buying things we can’t afford on credit cards that we can’t pay off, we’re not being good stewards of God’s resources.
Catholic Education argues that for Catholics and other Christians, “understanding that stewardship is collective requires us to find ways in which we can collaborate with others to make the resources in our possessions work for the good of all as intended by God. In other words, the resources at our disposal should help us to fill the earth and subdue it.”
By managing our money appropriately and making prudent choices, we are able to give whenever the need arises. What happened to Nathan Trapuzanno and his young family is a terrible tragedy, but because so many people have managed their finances and are willing to share with Jennifer Trapuzanno, we can all lift her up and help her in a small way to heal from her devastating loss.
Quite a tragic story but We do know That nothing can separate us from the love of God even death.
Just as you said we need to manage our resources prudently so we can be generous to others.
The amount of funds being raised proofs that when people are united they can truly cater for each others need cheerfully.
Thank you for sharing this, Melissa. I will be praying for his wife and child. Needs like this are really what drives us to get out of debt. What we give, needs to be given out of what we have… not stealing from what we owe to a debtor.
I completely identify with yourself in this post, and if you dont mind, wanted to ask you for advice.
Just today I have been dealing with a dilemma… My wife and myself are both Christians and believe in Tithing and giving, it is something that brings us joy and pleasure.
We have helped a family member at least 2 times, the last time she asked to borrow money from us, we dont believe in debt so we just gave her the money.
Now she is asking for another “loan”, I feel we are being taken advantage of since we just gave her the money and we never asked for a repayment.
We enjoy giving, but now we have the feeling that she is being abusive…
… what puzzles me is Matthew 5:39 to 42…
It says “Give to those who ask you” and we enjoy giving, but I dont feel is right to support someone abusive.
On the other hand it says “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also… ….If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”
Note that it says “go two miles”, it does not say “go three miles”, “go ten miles” or even “walk with him for the rest of your life”, which got me thinking that giving her the benefit of doubt and having giving her money 2 times is enough.
We try to be generous and could give her money a third time, but wouldn’t we be a bad stewards if we allowed gods money to be misused? wouldn’t it be better to help someone else this time instead of enabling an “addict” ?
I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts on this..
Hi, Jairo. Of course, the decision is yours whether to keep giving money, but I know in situations like this, Dave Ramsey recommends instead of continued hand outs that you instead pay for something like Financial Peace University so they can learn to manage their money better and improve their situation.
Peter Anderson says
I think giving is encouraged strongly in the Bible, despite what other people’s motives are:
I tend to think that if giving or lending the money can be a blessing, then it can be a good thing to do.
If the person is not using the money wisely or is simply taking advantage of you, however, I don’t think there’s any reason why you should continue giving money to them. They aren’t being good stewards of the gifts you’re giving them, so in the long run you’re not really helping or blessing them with your gift. You could try helping them in other ways, and encourage them to do things to improve their financial situation (like Melissa says), but avoid giving them money if you know they aren’t using it wisely. I would also stress to them how being in debt can be a huge burden on them and their family, and how bettering their situation can lead them to a sense of freedom. It can also keep relationships with family and friends from becoming strained.