Giving for the Lord (June 2017)

Bookmark and Share

We serve a God who gives.  He gave his only Son.  He gives us His love and mercy.  He gives us the whole of creation for our blessing and enjoyment.  And the Bible describes how God gives enormously generously.  God’s generosity is far more abundant than we can get our minds around.  He gives us when we don’t deserve anything at all.  He gives in such enormous quantities it overflows.  And He wants us to give with just the same attitude.   It also says in the Bible that ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2Corinthians 9 v7).  The word translated ‘cheerful’ could also be ‘hilarious’ – God wants us to give with the same, outrageous, over-the-top attitude he had. 

It can often tend to be that people give as much (or as little) as they think the church needs – or deserves – to pay a particular bill.  But if we were to follow the biblical pattern, we would just give to the church because we are grateful to God for his blessings on our life, regardless of what we thought it would be spent on.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver – the literal translation of that is God loves a hilarious giver – an overflowingly generous giver.  And the reason God loves someone who gives ridiculously generously, is that that is exactly how he gives to us.

Quite a few years ago I was at a church where I disagreed with a range of things the vicar was doing, not least changes to the building.  But I still gave to the church, and when there was an appeal for money for the building, I gave as I could, regardless of my own opinions, because I felt giving – cheerfully - out of obedience and gratitude to God was far more important than any human disagreements about how this or that was happening.

If we give out of the gratitude of our hearts to God for his mercy and love towards us, then there is no prescription of how much to give.  It also means that praising and giving thanks to God is enough.  It is not for us to be thanked for anything we might have given.  Also, we know that some people are able to give more than others, and if there is a ‘list’ of who gives what, it could be thought of as a competition.  Whereas, we know that God values the poor widow who gave a penny into the collection more than the Pharisees who made a big show of their offering. 

As Rector, I deliberately distance myself from the process of collecting and counting and banking the money that is given to the church, because I do not want anyone to have the (false) impression that my attention or God’s mercy can be ‘bought’. For these reasons also, this Parish News will no longer be detailing people’s names and amounts given.  If individuals want it to be known they have given for a specific reason (eg in memory of somebody, they can certainly do so, but not indicating the amount of money involved).  There have been some individuals who have given most generously to the Building the Future fund, for example (I do not know who they are) – but we will not be publishing names, or the amounts they gave.  However, we are enormously grateful to all who have given to that fund, and who give as they are able to the work of this church.  Our main gratitude is reserved for God, who continues to bless us greatly, and to whom all the glory is due.

Tina Upton