I am sure that sounds more like a sledgehammer for the month than a thought for the week to most people. So why talk about it?
I suppose it’s because God has been giving me a nudge to do so, and that was confirmed when Nigel Lloyd ended his sermon on Sunday with six practical steps to knowing Jesus better that started with ‘give generously’ and ‘give to the poor’!
Two important questions arise when we think about giving: one is ‘why should I give?’ And, if we are convinced on that, the second is ‘how much should I give?’
For me, the answer to the first starts not with money but with my identity in Christ. Paul says in Colossians 3v3 that I have died and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. The more I recognise that, the more I see my time, my talents and my money as not mine, but His.
Does that answer mean that I should give all my money away? Maybe it does, but notice that even if I do that, and don’t have love, it means nothing (1 Cor 13v3). When answering tough questions, it is always good to start with a benchmark, and God gave us that when He introduced the idea of tithing to the Children of Israel. Giving ten percent of my income back to God doesn’t mean the rest is mine to spend as I choose, but it does mean that I can learn to put Him first and to put everything else in proportion.
As a church, we are and have been, very generous. Young people now graduating from High School in Liberia bear testimony to sacrificial giving over many years, while the life changing impact of Eclipse is only possible because people in the church and beyond are obedient to God’s call to care for widows and orphans (James 1v27). But, as we respond to God’s call to us as a church to let down the nets on the other side to see a mighty harvest, can I ask you to consider your giving to the church? We are called to step forward in mission and in acts of kindness and we want to respond to that. Specifically we feel we are called to a new building and that will cost. If everyone in the church who could do so, gave ten percent, how much more could we invest in seeing God build His kingdom here?
So may I be bold, and ask: what can you give?