(For 3 fantastic video testimonies from parishioners on giving to Centre Street, scroll below!)
The Theology of Giving
Churches pay their bills (staff, utilities, supplies, insurance, etc.) and keep their doors open through the generosity of its community. That’s you. And while absolutely, the people are the church, the physical building gives a place to gather and participate in the life of the church, including a location for its missions.
These COVID19 times of being rearranged have certainly shown us that the church is wherever we gather. Presently, that is online and in person when possible but we still have to pay our bills.
Many of you are familiar with the three ways we give of ourselves to our shared faith community: Our time, our talents and our treasures. Giving is a spiritual discipline as well as a spiritual gift. As believers, we are called to be generous. It is important to periodically take the time to revisit why and how you give to our church.
But that makes me squirm!
People are often uncomfortable with money talk in church. Maybe you were raised to not talk about money. Maybe you feel it is a private topic. Maybe you have been financially abused or manipulated through the church.
Yet, remember that second to the nearness of God (the Kingdom of God), Jesus talked about money more than anything else. He talked about it because he knew it would become a false god, a thing we would worship. He knew it would become a source of manipulation, power and control. So, yeah, he talked about it.
Consider the following when it comes to being a good steward of our financial resources:
Money is a good servant but a poor master.
Jesus puts it this way, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Jesus also gave us the two greatest commands: First love God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds (Matt 22:37) And he also told us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 22:39). Through these commands, Jesus is telling us what our priorities are as people of faith.
The use of money is to be in service to the first two commands. If we first love and serve money, then money becomes our God. So instead of loving our neighbors as ourselves, we end up seeing our neighbors as competition. The fear of scarcity can set in not far behind. And God takes a back seat.
God owns everything, and all I have belongs to God.
The psalmist declared, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” We see this message throughout the Scriptures. I often look around my home and its physical location and marvel at all that Max and I have. While sure, we work hard and are blessed with an income that allows us to live here, we didn’t produce what we have. Our land, nature, our family and friends — our very lives — have come from God. In return, we are called to be God’s stewards. That means God trusts us to be faithful managers of what we have been given in service to the first and second greatest commands.
As always, what and how you live out your stewardship is between you and God. As your pastor, I ask that you prayerfully and mindfully consider where and how to use the resources that you have received and join me in sharing your gifts with this church to the degree that you are able. Thank you.