“For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” ~ Luke 21:4
Do you give everything you have to the church? Most of us don’t, because at this time in history, we have to have money to pay bills, to eat, to drive cars, to go to school. There is almost nothing I can think of that is actually FREE.
We belong to a denomination (thank goodness!) that doesn’t believe in, or practice, telling individuals what they should give to the church. I don’t find that to be biblical. What I do find biblical, however, is that we are to give of our abundance, offering to God the first of our fruits, not what is leftover after we pay bills and all that other stuff. According to 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as they have decided in their heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
But why give in the first place? There is the obvious, and we just discussed these things at our annual budget meeting on October 18: because we have bills to pay, and a building and parsonage to maintain. But I want to share a little secret, when we give to the church, the first thing we should be doing, as the stewards of the money we are entrusted with, is to give it to those who need it. We are called to clothe the naked, free the prisoner, feed the hungry. As a church, our priority should be mission: based: to care for all of creation through sharing the light and love of God, offering justice for all in an unjust world.
I want to let you in on a another secret, one I have recently realized. For so long I have said we need to “find that mission we are called to.” Friends, we have already been doing it. You see, what we do well is sharing God’s love by taking care of the needs we see, as we see them, giving when the need is in front of us. Share a Meal, sandwiches, cookies for the blood bank, food, coats, backpacks, and the list goes on and on. We may not have much as far as financial resources to give, but I believe we can do more. We have one other great resource, our space—again, not a big space, but we do have some. How can we use this resource to add value to who we are and how we offer God’s love in this world? The possibilities are endless!
The reality is we still need to care for the building and pay our bills. As we move into November, we will talk more about stewardship, and share ideas of how we can be stewards for those around us. Be sure to watch for your pledge cards in the mail after November 10. Please pray about what you will give for next year, fill them out, and we will bless them during our Thanksgiving Worship on November 22.
How much do you give? That is between you and God, but maybe the scripture above will bring light to that question. David and I don’t give everything, but we do give to the church first, and we try to give a little more every year. This year, we are in a position to be able to give more than we ever have in our married lives. This is exciting for us! We will be increasing our pledge, and we challenge you to spend time in prayer with God about doing the same, if you are in the position to do so. Please remember, nobody is going to come after you if you don’t or aren’t able to fulfill your pledges. Life happens, and plans change. But when you make a pledge, you are helping us plan.
If you see a place in our community that has an immediate need, please share it with myself or a Council member. Maybe we can help! Thank you for being faithful; for donating your time, talents and treasures to this church, and to those who need it. You are truly a blessing!
~ Always Peace, Pastor Heidi