As we approach our season of church budgets and stewardship, of planning for mission and ministry in 2012, I share these thoughts with youâŚ.
We give, not because God needs our money, but because giving helps us grow as Christians. This is something I recently heard said by the Reverend Karl Travis, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Dr. Travis went on to say three things about giving:
1. âThe spiritual practice of generosity begins with a promise, a promise to share. It is a promise to ourselves and God.â
2. âGenerosity isnât measured first by the amount but rather by the proportion of the giverâs abundance.â
3. âDisciplines are self-confirming. Only by engaging them can we learn of their value. This is true of prayer, of Bible study, of worship, and certainly of generosity.
We must keep at it.â
Two stories help illustrate the truth that giving is a joyful spiritual discipline:
A church member told his pastor, âI donât pledge.â His pastor asked, âDo you have a mortgage?â âYes,â the member replied. âDo you make car payments?â the pastor continued. âYes,â the man said. âIt seems to me you make a lot of pledges,â the pastor concluded. âIs God worthy of one?â
A pledge is your âpromissory prayerâ that can transform your giving into a spiritual discipline.
A church member tithed from her modest retirement income. Her Social Security check arrived monthly, so she wanted to write only one offering check each month. On the other Sunday mornings, she simply dropped an empty offering envelope into the passing plate because, she said, âI donât want an offering plate to pass and a child see me not drop something into it.â First we share, persistent in our giving, and in so doing we grow more deeply toward the generous heart of God!
Youâve heard it said, âGive until it hurts.â I say, âGive until it feels good!â