Over the past two weeks we have looked John Wesley’s advice on money from his sermon The Use of Money. There Wesley encourages his audience to “Earn all you can… Save all you can… and Give all that you can.” So far, we have looked at earning and saving in order to have a right relationship with money, but just as important as earning and saving is our giving.
Giving is more than just supporting the ministries and the budget of the church. Giving is an affirmation of our faith in Jesus Christ. Let me explain what I mean: if we can give our money away we are declaring that our money is not our God, that we are not slaves to money, and that we are allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of every part of our life—even our financial life.
This Sunday we will be exploring how we can each “Give All We Can,” but here are a few lessons I’ve learned about giving and growing in generosity:
- Give First: When you receive your next paycheck, make your first expense an act of giving. Often times, we wait to see how much we have left over before we determine how much we can give away. The problem is that most of the time after we start spending, there is nothing left over. The habit of spending all of it is too deeply ingrained in our lives. To counteract that cycle, give first. The act of giving first helps to discipline our financial lives.
- Give Regularly: Part of disciplining our financial lives and blessing others is determining how often we will give. While scripture defines a tithe as 10% of your income, how you give that 10% is up to you. There are some who will give weekly, others who give monthly, and still others who give their tithe once a year. Any of these practices is acceptable, but each requires us to be disciplined in our choice to be generous.
- Grow In Your Generosity: I believe that God wants to grow every part of our lives, by that I mean that in the same way that God wants us to become more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, that God also wants us to become more generous as we grow in our faith. Perhaps you have never given to the church, start by giving 1% this year and then be intentional to grow to 2% next year. If you’re giving a tithe, perhaps God is calling you to give more than 10% to bless others and the church through your generosity.
Giving is a choice that allows us to grow. Through your generosity, not only are you declaring that Jesus Christ is Lord of every part of your life, you are also empowering mission and ministry here at Pittman Park and around the world.
Around this time each year, our leadership asks the Church to commit to giving in the upcoming year. In a few days you will receive a letter and a commitment card in the mail. This card is designed for you to declare your intention to give all you can in the coming year. Take this card and set aside some time to pray over your financial commitment for 2023, ask God to help you discipline your giving so that you, who have been blessed, might be a blessing. The commitment card is less about funding our budget and more about us disciplining our hearts and lives as we declare Jesus to be Lord of all.
For Jesus. For People. For Community.