Considering our 2016 stewardship theme, “This Is Why I Give,” has created, for me, a special opportunity for reflection. Many years ago, Susan and I chose to give 10% of our income to the church because we believe that the church is one of the important ways God is made manifest in our world. It is the transformative ministries of the Church — and the ministries of this church that you lead — that proclaim most profoundly that the Holy Spirit IS at work in our world. Just to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that the Church does not have its faults; it does. However, Susan and I still believe that the church—the Body of Christ—is one of the primary ways God chooses to be “God with us.”
Another thing I want to share with you about this decision to tithe is that tithing is not something we have always been able to do. We had to work our way up to giving 10%. With the 10% goal in mind, we started with the amount we could give, based on our income and meeting our family’s basic needs, and then we nudged our percentage up bit by bit until we reached 10%. When Susan and I made the decision to put God first in our lives, giving to the church became a budgetary priority for us. I won’t say that it was easy, but we know that it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
As members of this church and faith community, each of us understands why the theology behind giving – of tithing – is important spiritually. Making this financial commitment demonstrates the decision to put God first in our lives. By making our own giving to the church a personal priority, we become an example to others.
Each year when we are asked to give to the ministries of our church, we each have an opportunity to lead by example — and to share with others our own reflections on why giving is so important to our personal discipleship. As you reflect on — and make — your own 2016 commitment to our church, I hope you’ll consider working toward your own tithe as we seek together to follow this theology of giving. What a difference it makes when you put your treasure where your heart is already supporting the amazing ministries of our church.
Grace and Peace,