worship, connect, serve, GIVE
"Oh good...a fundraising email."
Nope. Not even close.
So often, the spiritual discipline of giving is fundraising disguised as Spiritual Formation.
I approach the budget of Rockland from a Spiritual Formation perspective and let others way more gifted than I am crunch numbers. I want to help us all be shaped to be more Christlike through how we handle our money.
I don't like fundraising. I LOVE helping people grow in their faith, and giving God's people a proper view of their money is a great way to do that.
Of course we all know the practical aspects of giving: if no one gives, we don't have staff to preach and lead us in worship. We don't have money to give to ministry partners who are making a difference in the community and around the world. We don't have Bibles in our pews. We don't have a children's ministry. We don't even have a building, heat, or a snowplow.
"Give because it's practical" is not very motivating though, is it? There has to be more to it than that!
Good news: The Bible says something quite different.
Give: Generous Investment
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So much of what we do on earth is simply a subtle quest to find meaning in our lives. We want to have a lasting impact. Through giving to the things of God, we have an opportunity to store up treasures in heaven that can never be destroyed. As this verse teaches, I can give to all sorts of great organizations, but I can do something with my money that lasts forever. Mine is lasting because I give regularly and sacrificially to the general budget of Rockland.
When I heard the sermon that Ken Williams gave last week, and wondered who might be touched by it, I get to think "I give, so I was a part of that". When I get articles about our ministry partners that we give money to, I think "I'm a part of that." When I see (as we will this Sunday) people professing their faith publicly through believers baptism because they came to Rockland and have been moved by the ministries, programs, music, and people here, I feel a part of it because I give.
When God does great work here, we are a part.
When God touches a life that is shaped for eternity, we are a part.
Giving of money we can never keep, helps us all grow deeper in knowledge of the Truth that we can never lose.
What is the motivation to give? The illustration I like to use is the reflex hammer the doctors use to check our reflexes. (Side note: Doctors, we all hate when you do that to us.) I sit on the table and the doctor hits me in just the right (or wrong) place just under my kneecap. No matter how hard I try to resist, I kick. It is a natural reflex to what they are doing to me.
Similarly, giving is a natural response to what God has done for us. We have been loved by God and He gave the greatest thing He could - His own Son. Why would I withhold anything from Him?
A natural response to what I have been given is to hold my money loosely and to give to God's work in the local church, so that others might know the greatest gift ever.
That's a way I can make a lasting impact.
See you Sunday!