For the last few Sundays, we have been talking about biblical stewardship through the lens of John Wesley’s three simple financial rules: “Earn all you can…Save all you can…Give all you can.” On Sunday, we will conclude this series with a time of commitment and renewal of our commitment to give in support of the ministries and mission of the church. At the end of each service, we will invite you to return an Estimate of Giving card that will indicate your estimate of what you plan to give in 2019. Many of you already give regularly, and I am very grateful for your generosity. I hope that all of you will be in prayer about what you will put on your card, plan to be in worship with us on Sunday, and participate with us in this wonderful act of worship.
But before we get to Sunday, I know some of you may be asking, “Why should we give to the church?” This past week, I read an article about a Methodist congregation in California that is taking a different approach. The historic congregation purchased a piece of land in the heart of Los Angeles several years ago, and built a parking lot that is used throughout the week for many different businesses and events in the downtown area. On Sunday mornings, the congregation worships in the parking lot under a tent. The pastor shared that she does not collect an offering on Sunday mornings because they “do not need the money.” The ministries and mission of the church are funded by the money received from the parking lot throughout the week. The pastor expressed joy in the article that she does not have to ask her congregation for money each week.
Perhaps some of you are wishing we had a piece of land we could turn into a parking lot so your pastor would not ask for money. But I would argue that this pastor is depriving her congregation of the opportunity to give. In Malachi 3:10, we read, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” This scripture teaches us that we are blessed through our giving.
When you give to the church, you are not just supporting the ministries and mission of Royston First UMC, but you are also putting your trust in God when it comes to your money. Giving should not be a burden or an obligation, and I do not believe in guilting anyone into giving. Giving is a spiritual discipline that allows us to experience the grace of God in a profound way. Through our giving, Michele and I have witnessed the blessings of God and that is what I pray for each of you.
As you consider your giving in preparation for our time of worship this weekend, I want to encourage you to step out in faith. Remember God’s words in Malachi, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing.” How will you take your next step in giving? How will experience the joy and blessing that comes from giving? How will you grow in God’s grace through giving?
Have a great weekend and I look forward to being with you in worship at 8:45 and 11:00 this Sunday!
Grace and peace,
P.S. One of the best ways to stay current in your giving is through online giving. Visit our website at roystonfirstumc.org/giving and learn more about how you can set up an account for online giving. With online giving, you can automate your giving on a recurring basis. So even when you are out of town, your able to stay current on your giving to the church. If you want to know more about online giving, let me know and I would be happy to talk with you.