Last Sunday Bishop Lawrence McCleskey preached his “Sermon on the Amount.” I know from feedback that you found his sermon interesting, inspirational, and challenging. Good! We need to talk about our financial stewardship openly and honestly. We need to realize that our giving is a spiritual issue. And we need to be challenged to be generous people. (Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to laugh a bit along the way, does it?!)
Over the past few weeks we’ve highlighted our theme, “Growing in Generosity.” We heard that generosity is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, NRSV) In other words, when God is at work in us through the Spirit, generosity is one of the results, one of the “fruits” that grow in us. We’ve also heard that generosity leads to “the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19) This Biblical truth is confirmed by scientific research—generous people are healthier and happier. (Google “studies on generosity”)
Our mission statement confirms our belief in the importance of “growing in faith.” “Growing in Generosity” might be seen as one aspect of growing in faith. I’ve shared with you my conviction that growing in faith is growing in generosity, and growing in generosity is growing in faith. I’m convinced that they cannot be separated.
So, I hope that you have been prayerfully considering taking a step up in “Growing in Generosity.” Bishop McCleskey shared with us the step chart last week, and you should be receiving one in the mail. I urge you to find your giving level on the chart, and follow the instructions. What would a step up mean for you? Have you prayed about what God would have you give, about what “generosity” means for you at this point in your life? Are you willing to set a giving goal, perhaps the tithe, and work toward it, perhaps a step or two at a time?
You should have received, or should receive before Sunday, a mailing with the step chart and a pledge card for 2016. I hope that, after prayerful consideration, you will bring your completed card to worship on Sunday. As an act of worship in all three services, we will bring those cards forward, lay them on the altar, and dedicate them to God.
As I’ve said before, this is important for two reasons: (1) it makes your giving a prayerful, intentional act, and growth does not take place without prayer and intentionality, and (2) your pledge helps the Leadership Team plan next year’s budget, which cannot be accomplished without some knowledge of expected income. One note: if your circumstances change, you can call the office and change your pledge at any time.
I hope the mailings and sermons have helped you to prayerfully consider your relationship with God and how you respond to God’s love with gratitude and generosity. This Sunday in the sermon I will attempt to celebrate and give thanks for all the ways God is at work among us, and for all the ways that your giving helps us live into our mission statement “to be the living Body of Christ…welcoming ALL…growing in faith…engaging the world.” I’m excited about what God has done, what God is doing, and what God still has in store for us!
See you Sunday where we’re “Growing in Generosity!”