In this third week of our series, we begin to get very specific. One message we have shared is that our relationship with God is the foundation for all we do in the Church. If we truly believe that everything we have is a gift from God, then the giving of our time, talents, and resources to Him is as natural an act as breathing and as necessary an act as paying our bills.
Reading the Bible daily, attending Church services regularly, and working on, supporting, and participating in Church activities and programs are actions and deeds which reflect this love. So too is offering a proper percentage of our resources to represent the love we feel in our hearts for God.
“The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8
With a cheerful spirit and a loving heart, consider the possibility of changing the method you use to determine how much to give to the Church. First of all, consider your pledge an offering in thanksgiving for God’s love. Give knowing that this is what God wants and what God needs to know that we truly love and appreciate the faith He has placed in us, His children. Second, consider changing the method you and your family uses to determine how much to give. Is the amount you gave this year simply a repeat of the amount you gave last year? Is the amount of your offering a reflection of what the Parish says is the “fair share” expected from each pledging unit? Is your gift based on the fact that your family has always given this amount per week, and you continue this practice without much consideration of change? Third, think about the last ten times you spent money. Were any of these purchases for items you could have done without? With a little planning, could you have spent less for a particular item? This kind of analysis reveals to us that we could give more to the Church without neglecting the needs of our families and ourselves. Finally, consider a formula for giving that would result in raising the level of our offering to a point more in line with Church teachings. At your job, are you paid by the hour? If so, consider making your weekly offering to the Church the equivalent of one hour’s pay. If you are paid a weekly or monthly salary, divide this amount by the number of hours you typically work. Make this hourly calculation your weekly offering. Another approach might be to take your monthly income and pledge to give a percentage as your offering. Initially, this could be one, two, or three percent, if starting with a strict tithe of ten percent is not realistic.
The point is to consider changing how you determine the amount of your offering so that is becomes more reflective of scriptural guidelines. God loves a cheerful giver. Recall the joy you feel when you give someone you love a birthday or Christmas gift. Know that feeling every Sunday when you make your offering, in thanksgiving to God for all of His blessings.
Stewardship Corner Blog