From the Pastor ...
Why do you give? For some, it is for recognition. Recently, I was helping move our Association office to the Lakewood facility. As I was stacking a couple of chairs to load on the trailer, I noticed that there was a plaque on the back of the chair recognizing the person who donated the chairs for the conference room. Nearly every church that has been in existence for 50 years or more has items donated by people with their names on a plaque. Jesus tells us that if we give for recognition, that will be our reward.
For others, it may be a sense of duty. Many people were taught at a young age to give, which is good, yet now when they give; it feels more like is an obligation. They may feel like they are letting their parents down if they don’t give as they were taught.
For many people, they give grudgingly. They know they should give and that they ought to give, they just don’t want to give. So, when they give, they give reluctantly.
A few people are coerced into giving. They are put on a guilt trip and give for the wrong reason.
A lot of people today give in order to get. They make a deal with God and feel like He will increase their income if they are willing to give God a portion. Many so-called TV preachers use this technique.
I could go on and on.
So the question really isn’t why do people give, the question is why I give. Giving is personal. It’s between the giver and God. That’s what Paul teaches in the above passage. The NLT states it this way: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
The Greek word for cheerful is the word we get our word hilarious from. It means to be joyous, propitious or literally “prompt to do anything”. It means you give to the Lord joyfully and cheerfully. When you and I do this, God loves that kind of attitude.
With April being tax month, most of us know by now how much we contributed last year. Did you know that the IRS allows you to contribute up to 50% of your adjusted gross income to charity as a tax write off? Isn’t it amazing that the IRS allows Americans to be very generous? According to the latest figures, 45% of American households give to their religious organization. They give an average of $1703 per year, which is 1.8% of their income.
An organization called “State of the Plate” estimates there are 10 million tithers in America who donate more than $50 billion annually. Notable State of the Plate findings:
· 77% of those who "tithe" give 11%-20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.
· 97% make it a priority to give to their local church.
· 70% "tithe" based on their gross income, not their net.
· 63% started giving 10% or more between childhood and their twenties
Tithers carry much less debt than most people and are financially better off than Christian non-tithers—80% of "tithers" have no unpaid credit card bills; 74% have no car payments; 48% own their home; and 28% are completely debt-free.
What keeps non-tithing Christians from giving: 38% say they can't afford it; 33% say they have too much debt; and 18% said their spouse does not agree about tithing.
So, why do you give? Why not? May we at RoS be known as a church full of cheerful givers.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.