Over the past few weeks, we have talked about stewarding our talents and skills, our relationships, our time, and this week we talk about financial resources.
Oftentimes stewardship reminders are heard simply as pleas for people to “give more money.” But my responsibility as your pastor is not to fundraise more dollars. My responsibility is to walk with you as you grow in faith. And (whether you want to hear this or not) how you steward the financial resources God has given you is a pretty good indicator of your (hopefully growing) faith.
God has put each of us into different situations where we have varying financial resources as well as varying responsibilities that demand portions of our financial resources.
Some people are given massive amounts of financial resources and are able to give vast quantities to the church and other non-profit organizations without ever being in any financial danger.
Others (probably most of us) have been blessed financially, but we still have to be careful about the money we spend. We can’t go out to eat for every meal. We can’t be on vacation constantly. We don’t have an infinite amount of resources. We have to be wise with what we’ve been given.
And there are others who are truly struggling financially, who aren’t sure how they are going to pay their bills this month, who can’t fill their gas tanks entirely full and have to hover between quarter and half a tank in perpetuity.
No matter where you land on this spectrum, faithfulness in giving is part of the Christian life. That doesn’t mean that everybody has to give 10% (commonly called tithing) as a hard and fast rule. For a person struggling financially 1% of their income may be too much. Faithfulness in giving might mean starting to give at a dollar a week or five dollars a month. For a person who has been abundantly blessed financially, 10% might not affect them at all. Faithful giving likely means far more than 10% for people in such situations.
But faithful giving isn’t about dollar amounts or about percentages. Faithful giving is a matter of the heart. It’s about trusting that God will provide, that we can depend on God for our daily bread, that God gives us all that we need to support this body and life.
No matter where you are with giving right now, no matter what the dollar amount is or the percentage is, I want you to prayerfully consider stepping out in faith and increasing that giving. There are many reasons people may ask you to give more, but my reason for asking is for the sake of spiritual health, for the sake of depending less on money and more on God.
C.S. Lewis puts it this way in Mere Christianity:
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
You might not be ready for that this year. But I hope you’ll step toward that, or at least begin to lean towards it.
God’s blessings on your week.