â€œAll the church ever talks about is money!â€
Youâ€™ve heard it before. You may even have said it before. Letâ€™s take that statement to task. Itâ€™s simply not true. It is true that weâ€™ve spent three to four weeks in worship each year on a significant stewardship emphasis to encourage regular, consistent, generous offerings at Beautiful Savior. It is true that our leadership seeks to be transparent about our congregationâ€™s financial health in our quarterly updates. Yet, that statement above is misleading: God desires so much more than our money! He wants us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we could love God that way, money would not be an issue.
Frankly, we are again in serious need of an honest discussion about our love for God and how it is reflected in our use of his blessing of moneyâ€”earning, spending, saving, and giving. Our congregation has enjoyed the blessing of subsidy funding from our church body for 20 years, but this significant blessing is no more. As a result, the budget that supports the wonderful ministry we carry out in La Porte anticipates $35,000 of red ink. Graphs of our monthly offerings show varying hills and deep valleys that cannot currently support such ministry.
Spoiler alert: You will hear biblical preaching on the stewardship of treasures this fall at Beautiful Savior. Late in September, we will challenge our Beautiful Savior family to give a tithe (10%) OR to increase the proportion of what they are giving for their weekly offerings for a period of ten weeks. Why this challenge? Our generous giving is one way in which faith-filled hearts respond to the riches of Christ and show the honor, love, and gratitude we have for what Christ has done. Giving is an act of worship. Thatâ€™s the only reason collect offerings.
The practice of tithing (giving 10%) is at least as old as Abraham (Genesis 14:20). In Old Testament Israel, tithing was commanded by law. In the New Testament Church, tithingâ€”along with all other methods of givingâ€”is inspired by the gospel of Christ. Many Christians, free from compulsion, tithe as an exercise of their faith. Does God have the ability to keep us safe, warm and well-fed without 10% of our income? If we share an even greater proportion? Faith relishes the challenge. The Spirit is up to the task!
How is it possible to give as generously as a titheâ€“ or moreâ€“ and do so freely and joyfully? Christâ€™s love empowers his poeple. It flows freely from Christ â€œwho loved us and gave himself up for usâ€ (Ephesians 5:2). Generosity to God is a response to Christâ€™s willing sacrifice for us.
Tithing serves New Testament Christians as a benchmark for proportionate giving. The Apostle Paul said, â€œâ€¦each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your incomeâ€ (1 Corinthians 16:2). As New Testament Christians, tithing is a practice to be engaged in freely rather than a requirement to be met legally. Some of us are already in this spiritual habit. Inspired by Godâ€™s grace, we may seek to give more, more often, or more creatively. For others, tithing will be a big step and a significant test of faith. For still others, life-issues known to God may make a tithe currently unreachable. What about an extra percent, or two, or three? No matter where we are on the â€œgiving spectrum,â€ this is true: Our trust in Godâ€™s goodness is well-placed!
â€œNow to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us to Him be glory in all the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amenâ€Ephesiasn 3:20-21
You will receive several mailings, devotional pieces, and a commitment packet over the next four months as part of our 10 for 10 Stewardship Emphasis. Receive them in the spirit they are offered: As an opportunity to grow in faith and in the grace of giving. Study them. Think about them. Pray through them. They will help keep our stewardship emphasis centered in Christ and the cross as we seek to avoid financial quick-fixes and gimmicks!
May the Lord of the Church richly bless our Beautiful Savior family as we seek to excel in the grace of giving!
Beautiful Saviorâ€™s Leadership Team
Brad Minnick, Patrick Wheeland, Barry Younggreen, Carl Rowe, Tom Klosowski, Brian Larson, Pastor Kevin Boushek