Archives For Giving

Augustine:

It is a great duty of natural affection (it will be said) for a father to lay up for his sons; rather it is a great vanity, one who must soon die is laying up for those who must soon die also.

Luther:

See to it that greed does not take you in with a sweet suggestion and lovely deception like this: that you intend to advance yourself or your children into a higher . . . social position. The more you get the more you will want; and you will always be aiming for something higher and better. No one is satisfied with his position in life.”

Of course, balance is in order. It is not wrong to leave provision for one’s family.

In recent months, no preacher has challenged me more about outreach and missions than David Platt. If you haven’t watched this sermon yet – – – do so soon! Excerpts from a recent interview of Platt include these quotes:

Have you ever met an unconverted believer? Or watched blood transform into Kool-Aid at church?

David Platt has. . .

And:

We must change the ways we’re praying, giving, and going so that all the peoples of the world might hear Christ’s gospel and exalt Christ’s glory. This won’t happen by simply creating a missions committee, taking a missions offering, or tacking a “missions week” onto our annual church calendar. This will happen when we infuse God’s zeal for his global glory—both in our neighborhoods and among all nations—into the very fabric of our churches on a weekly basis, calling persons to pray, give, and go with a special view to those who’ve never heard. Local ministry is totally necessary, no question. But global missions is tragically neglected. So we must give ourselves to both—and call all followers of Christ to give themselves to both. This is the only obedient response to a King who’s commanded us to make disciples of all nations.

Read the whole thing here.

John MacArthur with an excellent thought about what should excite us about going to church.

When you think about coming to church, what aspect do you look forward to the most?

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume your answer is something spiritually noble—nothing vain or selfish like wanting people to see you dressed in your finest clothes, showing off a new car, or trying to sell goods or services to friends at church. Instead, let’s assume the best—that whatever it is you look forward to most is somehow related to ministry.

Some people might say the teaching keeps them coming back each week. Others would say the music. For some believers, it might be the deep relationships with other Christians they find through their churches—relationships that they can’t cultivate elsewhere. Others might just appreciate the temporary relief from the pressures of life, work, and the world.

But let me suggest something to you: If we really understand Scripture—particularly some specific promises from Jesus—the thing you should look forward to the most is the offering.

God’s Word clearly teaches that our giving is actually a direct pipeline to His blessings. In fact, two simple statements from the Lord ought to make every Christian eager and thrilled for opportunities to give.

Read the rest here.

I suppose it is no surprise that the economy is affecting church staffing.  It reminds me again to be so thankful for how God has provided for our church.

When Tim Ryan was called to an urgent meeting last year to discuss his duties as children’s minister at West Shore Evangelical Free Church, he knew something was amiss.

"This is really hard. I don’t know how I can do this," said executive pastor John Nesbitt, who helps lead the 2,500 attendee megachurch in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The church, part of the Evangelical Free Church of America, had been growing rapidly but giving was down and well below projections as the recession weighed on members. So Mr. Ryan was losing his job, as was another pastor.

While the economy appears to be recovering from the worst downturn in generations, more clergy are facing unemployment as churches continue to struggle with drops in donations. In 2009, the government counted about 5,000 clergy looking for jobs, up from 3,000 in 2007 and 2,000 in 2005.

Church staff are feeling the pinch, too. In an October survey, about one in five members of the interdenominational 3,000-member National Association of Church Business Administration said they had laid off staff amid the recession.

The official unemployment rate among clergy sits at 1.2%, far below the national average jobless rate, but layoffs can be particularly painful for ministers. Churches aren’t subject to unemployment taxes, so laid-off employees can’t collect the benefits available to other workers.

The whole thing here.

HT: CT

The Generosity Matrix

Chris —  June 17, 2010

Some helpful thoughts on giving from Justin Taylor and J.D. Greear:

I’ve found this post by J.D. Greear to be very helpful in thinking about giving, generosity, and possessions.

He begins by identifying two different extremes that Christians often hold with regard to possessions. Either:

  1. God wants you to give 10%, and after that you can do whatever you want with your money.
  2. Whatever you give, you should be giving more.

The second position, he says, is much better, but it’s imbalanced and leads to despair and constant guilt. He gives three problems with it:

  1. It never ends.
  2. It’s out of sync with what the Bible says elsewhere about possessions.
  3. It ends up as a spiritualized sense of “compulsory” giving (contra 2 Corinthians 8-9).

Read the whole thing.