Have you ever felt completely confused by giving? On the one hand, there is Group A who seems to perpetually think, teach and promote giving - as if that was the only way that God is adequately served. On the other hand, Group B is loathe to mention the topic because it fears appearing like Group A. To be honest with you, I've found myself gravitating toward Group B for most of my ministerial life. Well, that's an imbalance my friends! As I think back about Laura's and my giving history, some of our most profound experiences have revolved around either our giving, or someone else's obedience in giving. For whatever reason, giving seems to play an integral part of our actually experiencing God's kingdom.
Paul told Timothy to let the wealthy know that they shouldn't, "...be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy." He went on to say, "Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed." (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Did you get that? Life can be found in giving. Let me restate that. The very thing we think we are securing (security and happiness and life) by hoarding our "stuff" is actually compromised by not being generous with God. That's crazy talk! Or, is it? Could the abundant life be released by us giving our lives away? The answer to that question is simply, "Yes, of course!"
Jesus was at the epicenter of this spiritual truth. He created and owned everything, yet He gave His very life for His fallen creation. We own and created nothing, and yet there is this sense in which we feel as if we own it all. One of the big breakthroughs in our journey with Jesus is to recognize that in giving our lives away, we find them! As we learn to recognize our lives as stewards of God's gifts, rather than owners of our own "stuff", paradoxically we gain freedom from the worry and anxiety that typically accompany the tragedy of "self-governed lives".
Here is the bottom line. God loves extravagant givers and my sense is that His heart hurts for those who give out of duty. No, He wants us to give, "...as we have purposed in our hearts; not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.....He is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed..." (2 Corinthians 8: 7,8) Did you get that? Once we give, "Yes, of course," God wants to give back to us. Why? So that we can just keep giving and giving and giving. Why? So that we can actually be free from worry, anxiety and stress; knowing that God is our provider. He provides so that we can keep walking in this unseen realm called the kingdom of God. His kingdom, like His nature, is filled with faith and love and giving and life! Do you want that kind of life? God actually challenges his people to test Him on this challenging issue:
"....test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." (Malachi 3:10)
Will you consider praying about the financial role God is calling you to play at Church at the Red Door? Remember, this is not about "another church!" This is about founding a vital, life giving community that is ready to roll up its sleeves and never look back.
You are welcome to give financially in a variety of ways.
All contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.