I had another great visit with one of our long-time members in late April. The premise for the meeting was to thank her for her generosity. She is and has been very a consistent giver for many years; she makes an annual commitment to the church’s general operating and program budget and writes a monthly check supporting that commitment. She also bundles two or three other designated gifts with that gift. Without even being prompted, she recently began including a monthly gift to the Next90 Campaign because she wants to be a part of this ministry that will share the Good News with more people, especially those who live in the downtown area.
I asked her what motivated her to give and without hesitation she replied, “I always give to God first.” As the conversation continued, I recognized other characteristics. She was comfortable talking about her church giving; her giving was not about a tax deduction or about helping the church meet the budget although it certainly does.
Her generosity is her way of acknowledging the personal relationship she has with God; her generosity is her way of following Jesus’ directive of sharing her faith with others, both in word and deed; her generosity is one way for expressing her thanks to God for what He is doing in her life.
I hope that you and I are on a similar faith journey, grounded in our own relationship with God, practicing Healthy Plate discipleship with the goal of working together on First Church’s mission of living out our faith as well as sharing our faith with all we meet while giving with gratitude as a way of honoring and thanking our loving God.
In practicing Healthy Plate Discipleship, we stand as devoted followers of Jesus Christ, committed to practices that will encourage growth in faith. Discipleship is the process of being shaped by the Holy Spirit through spiritual practices to become more like Jesus.
When people become more Christ-like, there is a transformation for the individual moving them beyond just being here on Sundays and just being a church member to being and living as a disciple for Christ.
Being a disciple doesn’t necessarily mean your life is going to be perfect, but you will live with joy, confidence and peace. There is also the opportunity for growth in the areas of generosity and gratitude. The attitude toward giving becomes “God has blessed me in so many ways. How do I feel God is calling me to respond to those blessings?”
I had the pleasure of lunching with one of FUMCFW’s disciples which resulted in this blog. I walked away inspired. As much as I would like to take credit for her generosity, I cannot. I can though certainly express gratitude to her and to God for her gifts.
As always, I look forward to spending time of gratitude with you and hearing how you are living out your discipleship.
Together through Christ,
Director of Stewardship