at Hudson Presbyterian Church
Why we give?
church is the intentional creation of Jesus Christ in which we come together
for God’s Kingdom purposes:
- to be formed as mature disciples who show
and share Jesus,
- to be formed as a body that in the
totality of its life resembles Jesus,
- and to carry out God’s mission to the
world as we give away what we have received as a gift of grace.
2. We support the shared
life and work of the body in this place.
We fund the home base that provides space for the faith community to
worship, study, pray and serve and which provides an arena for our growth as
disciples (We remember always that as the mission changes our home base may
change since structure always supports the vision and mission.). We also provide space for groups within the
community, whose purposes we value, to serve others in Jesus’ name.
3. We give to meet the needs
in our community, nation and world laid before us by God.
What we believe about giving:
you have and own comes as a gift of grace from God. “The
earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those
who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon
the rivers.” (Psalm 24:1-2 ESV) Paul
says it this way in Colossians 1:16d, “all
things have been created through him and for him”. This impacts how we live. If God created us, then all that we have and
all that we are belongs to him. We are
simply trustees of these resources (life, time, talent, treasure, creation) for
a season. This makes the question before
us: How much of the estate entrusted to us is it appropriate to use for
ourselves? For most of us that amount
changes over the course of our lives. However,
it is frequently more than warranted since we confuse wants and needs.
of us are by nature treasure hunters. Our
choices and actions are purposeful. You
and I were created hard-wired to desire treasure. Our hearts and minds are designed so that we
would be treasure seekers. The
Westminster Catechism begins: “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy
him forever.” It doesn’t come to this conclusion out of thin air but through
deep reflection on the whole of Scripture.
The Psalmists say it this way: In
your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures
forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing else on earth that I
desire besides you. My flesh and heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!”
(Psalm 73:25-26) We were created to
desire, to treasure God. The problem is
sin pulls our God given desires for love, approval, place and security off track. Things that were intended to find their
satisfaction in God now get filled with the stuff of this world. Where is your treasure? “But
store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not
destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there will your
heart be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21 NIV) Your use of the resources entrusted to you
reveals what your heart treasures.
grip on us is insidiously strong. It’s
why Jesus speaks of money issues more than any other subject. If you don’t
believe it, consider that 11 of Jesus’ 39 parables deal with money. Jesus talks about money more than he does
about hell. Note Luke 12:15…Jesus warns
us “Take care and be on your guard
against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of
question becomes: Will your finances control you or will you control your
finances? “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV)
So what can you do?
Give freely of all that God has given you. Ruthlessly inventory how you use that which
God has entrusted to you for his glory.
If you are not using your resources in that way, it is time to be honest
with your Father in heaven. Trust him
and ask him to do the heart work necessary for you to live differently. Begin to train your heart to trust God in
little things so that the big things have less and less dominion over
Tithing is a first step in that direction. It
helps us undo our need for finding identity and approval in the wrong places
and trains us to instead find it in God.
Leviticus 27:20 reminds us, “A
tithe of everything from the land whether grain from the soil or fruit from the
trees belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” A
tithe is a tenth part. We use that term
very loosely. Israel, by way of
comparison, had three main offerings.
One supported their spiritual leaders.
The second was for a feast. The third was for the poor. Twenty-three percent of their income went to
God. A tithe looks modest by
comparison. Writer Randy Alcorn says
that the tithe was the floor for giving…not the ceiling.
If you can’t take that big
step, begin by incrementally trusting God.
If your giving is at 2% creep it up to 3%. If it is 3%, increase it to 4%. You get the idea.
Cathy and I have never regretted our decision to
tithe. It came early in our marriage
when finances were tight and the math didn’t add up. It’s a funny thing. We never lost a thing by trusting God
first. That which was hard in the
beginning, became a joy and a gift of grace, as we shared what we had with the
body of Christ and the world.
Remember in the higher math of God’s Kingdom, five
loaves and two fish given to God, feed a multitude!