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November 16, 2016, 8:01 AM

Thanks Giving



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. As we sojourn through this season of thanksgiving together, may we ever be mindful of the many great and precious gifts we have in Christ Jesus. In response, may we also be some of the most grateful and generous people on the face of the earth.

As a pastor, one of the most common questions I receive is regarding my thoughts on tithes and offerings. “How much must/should I give,” they ask. Some come genuinely wanting to know what is expected and/or appropriate. Others come with ulterior motives. The question is not a new one. In fact, in response, Jesus had much to say about giving. Mark 12:41-44 declares that, on one particular day, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’” Wow! Can you imagine Jesus commenting to others about your giving habits?

Reinhold Niebuhr made the following comment about the discipline of tithing: “I would suggest that you commit yourselves not to tithing but to proportionate giving, with tithing as an economic floor beneath which you will not go unless there are some compelling reasons.”

None of us has to be an accountant to know what 10% of a gross income is, but each of us must be a person on his/her knees before God if we are to understand our commitment to proportionate giving. Proportionate to what? Proportionate to the accumulated wealth of one’s family? Proportionate to one’s income and the demands upon it? Proportionate to one’s sense of security and the degree of anxiety with which one lives? Proportionate to the keenness of our awareness of those who suffer? Proportionate to our sense of justice and of God’s ownership of all wealth? Proportionate to the desire in our hearts that the local church would flourish and impact our community for Christ? Proportionate to our sense of stewardship for those who follow after us? And so on, and so forth. The answer, of course, is in proportion to all of these things.

I invite you to pray the following with me: Heavenly Father, you give to me with a lavish hand, you do not withhold from me of your great grace and mercy. Let me live and serve you also with a generous heart. In the name of your Son, who gave his all. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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