In a moment of transparency, as a minister, asking for money is not one of my favorite topics. I would venture a guess that talking about giving is not one of most congregants favorite topics either. I have heard (inside and outside of church) remarks like, the church is always begging for money, I’m not paying for the pastor to be driving a fancy car or regarding the practice of tithing, why do they need that much money. I will acknowledge that stories of financial mismanagement and theft, poor stewardship of resources and extravagant purchases have contributed to the bitter taste in some peoples’ mouths. The results of the pandemic makes talking about financial giving an even more delicate matter. In America's four largest cities, at least half of the people say they have experienced the loss of a job or a reduction in wages or work hours in their household since the start of the coronavirus outbreak and I am sure some of you have been impacted directly. Consequently, concerns about financial instability have caused many to limit spending that is not necessary and, for some, giving falls into the category of unnecessary or extra spending. I understand how giving to the church may not be a personal priority at this time. As we approach the Annual Stewardship Campaign, I want to offer a few things for your consideration.
The church depends on the financial giving of members and friends to fund the work of ministry. Yes, some of the funds go to paying salaries. The staff who are paid work hard and provide consistent service with excellence. Additionally, your generous gifts pay bills; this covers heating and lighting the building, running water, tuning of instruments, licenses for music, and other necessities. Furthermore, offerings are used to ensure that we have funds available to give to the works of missions and outreach, aiding those who are vulnerable or in need. Your gifts ensure that someone is able to eat a meal and prevent the shut off of someone’s utilities. I hope you are encouraged by the reminder that your offering is used to help a friend in need.I am also reminded that everything we have comes from God; we are not owners, we are stewards and as stewards we are responsible for taking care of and looking after that which God has placed in our care. God has given us time, talent and treasures. We are left to consider and choose what we will do with these things. How will we use what God has given us? Will we squander it? Will we hoard it? Will we invest in the building of the kingdom?
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” As you contemplate your financial gift for 2021, please do so prayerfully. Let God’s kindness and generosity towards you guide you in deciding what you are able to give. I ask that you keep in mind the promise that God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. As the psalmist declared and many of you can attest to, you have been young (or younger) and now you are old (or older) and you have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. It is not our jobs, social security, disability, a pension or any other sources of income that keeps us, but it is our divine parent who protects and provides.
Whatever you decide to give, know that it will be used for the upbuilding of God’s kingdom; it will be used to carry out the work of ministry, to demonstrate God’s love for humanity and to meet the needs of God’s dearly loved people. Also know that we are grateful; we appreciate your generosity and sacrifice. We hope that, as you complete your estimate of giving card, you see the smiling face of the Learning Center children, the satisfied person who has just been fed and the relieved person who can rest a little easier because they do not have to be concerned that they will be without water. May we all do our part and make God’s heart glad as we seek to ensure that none of our kindred and friends are in need.
The Stewardship Team would be THANKFUL to receive your Estimates of Giving Cards by Thanksgiving (11/26/2020).