Before you read our latest post, we want to apologize to you for not posting for the past month or so. Unfortunately, my computer needed some repairs, which took much longer than I expected. All seems to be in order now. Thanks for your patience.
Grace and peace, Ray
Yesterday it was announced in our church that we were starting our annual stewardship campaign. This takes place every year as we make commitments to support the annual budget which will provide funds for our ministry in the coming year. At the same time, many of us, in addition to supporting the annual budget, are invited to support specific ministries around the world. We are also reminded that stewardship is not just about money. It also includes commitments of our time and talents.
I began serving as a pastor 26 ears ago. It didn’t take me long to discover that when I talked about giving (especially giving money), someone was likely to get upset with me. So there came a time when I prayed about this situation. God suggested that I think back to the time before I ever thought about being a pastor. What were some the reasons that my wife and I gave in response to stewardship campaigns and other appeals for financial support. So I came up with a list of the top ten reasons for giving. As I was developing that list I realized that those top ten reasons for giving might better be described as the top ten (not so good)reasons for giving. Here’s my list:
- The church was doing what we wanted it to do.
- We liked the pastor
- We liked the people (some of them, anyway)
- We got a lot of pats on the back because we were doing important things for the church
- We thought giving made us look good
- We felt guilty if we did not give
- The church said it needed money and was depending on us
- We were told that God was depending on us (later on we wondered what God ever did before he created us)
- The finance leaders used inspiring slogans like “give until it hurts”, “Give until it feels good”, “now is the time”, etc.
- They used gimmicks that worked for a few years.
As I went through that list I realized that somewhere along the way our reason for giving changed. I remembered that nowhere in God’s Word, The Bible, does God give any of these as reasons for giving. After searching the scriptures, I realized that the one and only good, Biblically based reason for making a financial commitment to or through the church or other agency, is that God says “do it”.Why? Because God created us and the financial resources we use. We belong to God. Our resources (money, time, talent) all belong to God. God has entrusted us to use all of these resources for God’s purposes.God says we should give some of it back, through the church, or other agencies, organizations, and causes as a way of participating with God in carrying out God’s ministry in the world.
I was reminded that even in the most financially difficult times in our lives, God made sure that we always had enough money to take care of our needs, and to tithe (give at least 10% of our combined incomes) to God and his ministry through the church. That’s why. during the coming year we will again ncrease our financial commitment.
God says, “do it”. Can you? Believe me, based on my experience, “yes you can”. God never tells you to do anything you cannot do. But God then leaves that up to you to decide what you will do.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
Patty Perez and Ray Gough
We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com
We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this web-site:
A Spiritual Autobiography
How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes
of an ordinary guy from Jersey City