Pastor's Blog

Giving: The Leap of Faith November 19, 2014

Giving:  The Leap of Faith
Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them.  Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven… Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

--Matthew 6:19-21

This year our stewardship season has been focusing on the idea of “Treasure.”  The bottom line is, YOU are God’s treasure, and because God loves you so much, you can count on God providing for you, taking care of you, answering your prayers and meeting your needs.  Therefore, you can give generously and sacrificially of your treasure for God’s work in the world through the church.  The return you receive on this investment is true and lasting treasure. 

I must confess it took me a long time to realize this myself, and to have the courage to act on it.  I was in my late 20s when the church I belonged to taught me this.  I had given an offering to the church regularly since I was a child, but I admit that the amount of my giving hadn’t changed that much from my childhood days.  It was a “childish” offering.  But one year, I really heard the sermons, the faith stories, the information about tithing, and the scriptures that were focused on financial stewardship, and I found myself wanting to respond in faith.  I wanted to have the same deep faith and feeling of joy that those who spoke about their commitment to tithing had.  Most of all, though, I wanted more than anything to feel that God was pleased with me.  I wanted to believe that God would say to me, “well done, my good and faithful servant,” as he said to the first two servants in the parable of the talents that we heard last Sunday.

I decided to take a big leap of faith, and for the first time in my life, to pledge a tithe (10%) of my income to the church for the following year.  I reasoned that I could always change my pledge if it didn’t work out – if I ran out of money to cover my bills, or if my income changed, or if God didn’t provide as God had promised.  I looked at it as an experiment in faith.  In order to have the money to pay what I had pledged, I paid that amount first, at the beginning of the month, and then lived on the other nine-tenths of my income the rest of the month.  I can’t tell you that it was always easy to tithe.  There were some months when unexpected expenses came up and I wasn’t completely faithful to my pledge.  But God has always been faithful to God’s promise, providing for me, taking care of me, helping me find a way through.  And my experiment in faith led me to a far deeper faith and an overflowing joy that I had not known before. 

Over the years since then, I have tried to be as generous and sacrificial in my giving as I could.  Sometimes I’ve done better than others.  But here is one thing I’ve learned:  it’s the time before I give that is the hardest, when I’m asking myself, should I give to this?  Can I afford It?  Will I miss out on something I want or need if I give this amount?  That is the point of wrestling with faith.  As soon as I give the money, I no longer miss it and I discover I still have what I need to live on. 

Giving to the church instead of to some other pet cause means I’ve invested my funds in a wide variety of ministries over the years.  My tithes and offerings have provided college scholarships, fed hungry people, taught children the faith, provided breathtaking music, created or maintained beautiful worship spaces, given shelter to the homeless, given comfort and counseling to the heartbroken, provided a living for families in third world countries, helped people recover from hurricanes and earthquakes, ministered to prisoners, saved lives, counseled couples getting married, helped adults study the Bible, sent youth on mission trips, sent visitors to shut-ins, spread the good news of Jesus Christ to many, and much more.  I have had a hand in transforming the world and changing lives, through my giving.  I have also come to see that my investment in the “treasures of heaven” turned out to be an investment in myself, for every time I have given to the church and given to others, I have become a more faithful, compassionate, generous person and my trust in God has grown.  A bonus of this investment has been an exponential increase in joy and peace.  I invite you to try your own experiment of faith as you fill out your Estimate of Giving card and Time & Talent form and bring them to church this Sunday.  The rewards are priceless!

Love and blessings, Pastor Karen
blog comments powered by Disqus