6 Ways to Sunday: Gifts
By Peter Gray
One of the ways we can (and should) support the church is by contributing money. It is through our monetary gifts, as well as our spiritual gifts, that God's word is spread on earth. We enjoy learning about how we can better utilize our spiritual gifts, how we can respond to the needs of others, how our prayers helped someone feel the presence of God in the midst of crisis, and how we can act more like Christ. Why is it then, that we shun speaking about how to grow in our financial giving? I believe, we welcome advice on spending our spiritual gifts because we recognize we need help. On the other hand, I think we believe we are already experts on money and we don't want anyone to break through that thin facade. I'm as guilty of this as the next guy.
We seem to give little thought to shelling out higher prices every year for season football and basketball tickets, yet we take great offense when the church asks us to consider increasing our giving. Do you notice the dichotomy? We are okay with higher prices being forced on us, but get upset when we are asked to just think about giving more. We pay more for gas, for food, for entertainment all the time. We have our favorite movies on VHS, DVD, AND we're in the process of building our Blue-Ray library of those very same movies. I'm not making any judgments here, simply pointing out the difference in thought patterns. Over the years, I've heard a number of discussions (and rationalizations) on tithing. Is 10% the "right" tithe? Is it 10% of gross income or net take-home pay? Are college expenses I pay for my children excluded? Can I include the time I volunteer as part of my monetary tithe? Do I count what I give to the capital campaign as part of the 10%? We want to claim we are tithing and justify our stinginess at the same time.
What if we consider wanting to pay for our child's college education, yet being restricted to ONLY providing 10% of our income. In order to maximize the amount I could give my child, I would be counting every thing possible; gross pay (before tax-free deductions), tips, everything sold on eBay and during yard sales, the birthday card money from Aunt Bessie, the value of gasoline that my brother put in the tank when he borrowed my truck. The list could be endless. But, we generally view church giving from the other end of the spectrum.
The amount of money I give to the church is between God and me. Similar to the time I volunteer and the time I spend in prayer, is between God & me. But, at the same time, it is important for my spiritual growth to participate in activities, attend worship, study the Bible and, yes, donate money to the church as well. While the amount given is confidential, the act of giving should be a topic that can be openly discussed.
Jesus wants us to be engaged in all aspects of his ministry; from the spiritual highs to the mundane daily administrative tasks.
Trinity has many great resources in people and in physical assets. It takes money to maintain and to grow both of those resources. As you consider how you can support Trinity and its missions with monetary donations, think about the positive impact Trinity has had on past generations, on current generations and all the generations that will come.