As we seek to determine how we should give, we need some sort of standard, some sort of guide. This standard should take into account our unique faith journey, circumstances, and commitments.
For myself, I begin with the standard of the tithe, and when I can go beyond it I do. If you have not already
established your own standard, you should begin by negotiating with God, in consultation with the Bible and others of the faith. I strongly believe we should all review our level of giving at least annually, though we should not become so much a slave to a yearly review that we rule out increasing our commitment in special circumstances at any time. One of the great blessings of being part of a community of believers is that God hears and responds to the prayers of those who can give only small amounts as well as those who are able to give large amounts.
Tithing has often been misinterpreted and misunderstood. Many in the church view it as a legalistic requirement. Some consider it a burdensome duty rather than an opportunity for the joyful expression of praise. Some view tithing as an investment, assuming that the more they give, the more they’ll get. Some see tithing as a requisite proof of redemption, as a sort of good work that is exacted as the price of salvation. For those who hold such a perspective, either consciously or
unconsciously, tithing can become very problematic; they experience guilt if they feel they may not have given enough, and they become complacent or even arrogant if they feel they have contributed lavishly. We pervert the concept of the tithe if we imagine ten percent to be a magic number that guarantees some kind of relationship with God.
If we focus too narrowly on a specific percentage, we wind up tangled in all manner of details. Do we tithe net or gross income? Do contributions to charities count as part of the tithe? These are not irrelevant issues as such – we do well to give some thought to how we assess the gifts that we have been given and which ministries are worthy of our support – but the point is that if we are looking to cut our losses when it comes to tithing, then we have got it all wrong. Legalistic interpretations can quickly kill the spirit of gratitude that should be motivating us to tithe in the first place. We should approach tithing as an expression of Christian grace, not a device for earning redemption. Tithing is a response to God’s faithfulness and provision, not just a requirement. The progressions of stewardship toward and beyond the tithe can be a discipline that frees us to comprehend the fullness of the gospel and riches of God’s grace. Properly handled, tithing is a vital step in Christian discipleship.
Tithing is a discipleship issue, not a fund-raising device. It has to do with our relationship to Jesus Christ. The question tithing raises is not “how much of the church’s budget is my share,” but rather, “how much of my income is God’s share.” We have a need to give, and the tithe is a guide in addressing that need.
- a source of blessing in our relationship with God;
- symbolic in putting God first;
- an act of gratitude for and an expression of commitment to God’s work;
- an important element in Christian discipleship;
- a help in reordering priorities, establishing God’s rightful place in our lives;
- capable of extending the church’s witness and service through ministries near and far; able to free us from being vulnerable to greed, and to develop in us a new spirit of generosity in all things.
Obviously there is much more to be said about money, possessions, and tithing. But perhaps we have covered enough ground to get you thinking in new ways about your stewardship of this part of the wealth you have received. May God bless your efforts to be the best steward you can be of the resources with which you have been entrusted in 2014!!!
If you want to serve God on the Stewardship Team, please talk with any of the members: Pastor Jabulani, Dan Brown, Elaine Knott, Sharon Burr, Sue Colantonio, David Dromsky, Elizabeth Boylowlu, Rachel Bloe, Alex Toro or me. We would love to serve God with you as His servants in this way.
In Christian Faith and Love,
Chair of Stewardship
There are a multiple ways to give:
1) Cash/check payable to Calvary Baptist Church
2) Pay Pal link on web-site
3) Automatic “Bill” pay
4) Estate Planning (Wills, Bequeaths, and trusts
5) One-time gift (Visitors/Friends of Calvary
6) Designated Funding (church repairs/improvements, youth sponsorship/scholarships
7) Tithing 10% of your income (Per week, Bi-weekly, monthly, annually)