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Some recent article from the NEWS on giving:
Revelling in the grace of giving
Our giving is a reflection of what God’s grace means to us.
(a) In the Old Testament you may be familiar with God’s outward command to give back a tenth of what was received. The law said:
- “be sure to set aside a tenth”(Deuteronomy 14:22)
- “to the Levites (priests)..you must present a tenth” (Nu 18:26)
- “the law requires … a tenth from the people” (Hebrews 7:5)
Of course this ‘tithe’ giving didn’t prove people were converted:
- “you (Pharisees) give a tenth … but you have neglected the more important matters” (Matthew 23:23)
- “I give a tenth” (said the proud Pharisee) (Luke 18:12)
(b) In the New Testament the tenth is superseded by inward grace! Grace bursts the legal wineskins.
- “set aside a sum of money in keeping with (your) income”(1 Cor 16:2)
- “she out of her poverty put in all she had” (Luke 21:5)
- “I give half … I will pay back four times” (Luke 19:8)
- “their overflowing joy welled up in rich generosity” (2 Cor 8:2)
(c) So how much should you give? From your net income — as you work out your responsibilities to sustain family and food, etc. — give generously to thank God and to prosper the work of the Gospel. You are not under law to give a tenth and you are not under law to give less than a tenth!
But notice that under law, those receiving
- $10,000 a year would give $1,000
- $100,000 a year would give $10,000
- $500,000 a year would give $50,000 etc.
Under grace some will give more!
Impact of generosity
Let me tell you about John Anderson. Not the former deputy Prime Minister, but an older man who died a couple of years before I began as Rector of St Andrew’s Roseville in 1991.
John had no immediate family and when he died, St Andrew’s Roseville discovered that he had left his entire estate to the church. It consisted of a 3 bedroom home about 1km from the church and approximately $500,000 which was to be used to maintain the home and help pay for youth work.
What a vision for ministry! When I arrived at St Andrew’s, they had renovated and extended the home and the assistant minister had just moved in. Over the years I was there, the church has probably been saved close to $100,000 in rent for their assistant. And now the house is to be extended again and turned in to the rectory (as the present rectory is needed for offices for the staff). And we were able to use interest from the remaining funds to help pay for a youth minister.
There may be no one in our congregation in a similar position—but imagine if we had an additional house through someone’s generosity. What a help that would be to us financially if we weren’t paying rent to house an assistant minister!Let me tell you another story from St Andrew’s Roseville. In 2004 when many from church went away for a weekend conference, I presented a vision of employing a part time children’s minister. I cheekily said to the congregation that if someone wanted to help fund the position to see me at morning tea. I was humbled and thankful when a couple saw me at morning tea and promised $25,000 that year and $25,000 the following year toward such a position! Amazing!
When I began as minster here in Noosa, I presented a vision for our church in 2015. And in that vision, I had hoped we would be in a position to employ either a youth and/or children’s minister in 2012. On present indications that won’t be possible…
Friends our greatest need in mission locally is to reach children and young people with the saving news of the Lord Jesus. And if the Lord should lay on your heart to help make that possible through your generosity, then please—have a quiet word with me or one of the wardens. And let’s all strive to excel in the magnificent and wonderful joy of giving.
Benefits of giving via the internet
I wonder if you have considered supporting the work of our church by direct credit through the internet?
Presently, 38% of all our offertory is given through this means. That may explain why that person next to you never puts anything in the plate!
Here are some advantages:
- as soon as you receive your income into your account, you can set aside whatever percentage you have decided to give back to the Lord. This helps us to remember that’s it’s all the Lord’s anyway and that the first portion of our income is to be returned to Him. (So whenever Susan is paid and I receive my stipend, I immediately transfer the percentage we have decided to our church.)
- when you are away, you can still support the work!
- it means less handling of cash for counting and banking
Some have raised with me that they prefer to put their money in the plate so that it may be received and prayed over during the service. I understand that completely. But I also believe that as we ask the Lord for wisdom in using the offertory well and for his glory, he hears our prayers for money directly transferred as well!
Most importantly, our giving should be well thought out and prayed through so none of us give whatever just happens to be in our wallet or purse or account at the time, but is part of our considered response to God’s grace to us in the Lord Jesus.
While we approved a deficit budget at our annual meeting this year (covered by using up some of our small reserves), I’m confident that if we all gave according to grace, we would finish the year in front and not behind.
May the Lord make us all generous givers, and abundantly supply our needs for his work here in the parish and beyond.
* The first part of this piece was adapted from an article by the Rev Simon Manchester
See here for our bank account details for giving via the internet.