The final Sunday of this liturgical year on the 26th is Christ the King in which we’re reminded of Whose we are and Who we follow and serve. In this month of counting our blessings and lifting up thanksgiving to God in word and deed, we begin the month with our Mission Faire, remembering and seeing our connection to and support for the Gospel of Jesus Christ touching lives around the world.
Stewardship Commitment Sunday is on the 12th, the same day as our delicious annual ice cream sundae fest! In the current uncertainty of our world, it is the perfect time to rekindle the fires of giving to your church home. It is an expression of gratitude for God’s blessings in your life. It is a statement of faith recognizing that God is the source and sustainer of life. You are bearing witness to others about God’s call on your life.
In the Old Testament, the harvest was something celebrated in a communal context with the Festival of Harvest. It was a joy and privilege to share God’s blessings with those in the community. Pledging is similar in our church today, when we have the opportunity to celebrate God’s bounty. We also pledge because it keeps us accountable. In our hurried lives, God ends up further down the list of priorities. But God deserves the first fruits of our labor. Pledging helps us pray, re-prioritize, and commit to God’s purposes and then gives us a chance to live into them with the support of the community of faith. For practical purposes, pledging helps your church leaders set the budget for the coming year. We desire to be good stewards and trust God to help us live out His vision.
Why do we exhort believers to tithe? Tithing is a biblical principle that indicates a disciple’s willingness to put God first. Tithing is a spiritual discipline – you are tangibly expressing your faith in God through your giving. Does God come first or last? Your giving supports the ministries of our church home, but your giving comes from the realization you are a servant of God – but more than that – a child of God. To maintain our fervor and passion for God, we need to keep the fire of giving alive. We need to keep fanning into flame our gifts of proclamation so that we will never neglect God’s gifts to us.
In a season when giving is down and some may be anxious about the future of the congregation, it is helpful to remember God’s promises. Malachi 3:10 “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
We all need encouragement in the area of devotion in our spiritual lives. There are so many things that can extinguish the spiritual flame of giving. Yet, God promises amazing blessings for those who trust Him and have eyes to see what He is doing. Both the Old and New Testaments bear witness to the generous nature of our loving God. If we worry about whether we can afford to give – and, as a result, hold back resources intended for His ministry – we are saying God is not trustworthy. How we relate to money and possessions is important to God.
Luke 6:38: “give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” 2 Cor 9:7-8 “Each of you must give as you have made up your 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 by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isa. 43:18-19
Faithfully, Yours in Christ,