as part of our Shift! series.
Cheers went up throughout the auditorium when I announced the topic, while others texted their friends to hurry and get to the building to hear what the Pastor had to say about giving. Then I woke from my daydream.
I get why so many look at the organized church in America askance. We give them many reasons to wonder what we do with the money. Our buildings and programs make the outsider guess why we don't use that money to solve problems like poverty and housing. We tend to hide what is on our books, and we do a lousy job of showing people how we help the community and people around the world.
But, giving is at the heart of the church's message. Why? God is a giving God, (John 3:16) and we who have been captured by God's suffering, sacrificial love given to us through His Son, Jesus, cannot help but share that love with others in tangible ways.
Grace motivates us to give. God granted us forgiveness through grace, and we are to do the same with all we are and have. Laws about giving are for the spiritually weak who need to know the minimum of what they should do so they can get on with their lives, but we forget that giving IS our life! (See Paul's encouragement to his friends in Corinth. 2 Cor. 8:7-9)
To be a follower of Jesus is to live like Jesus. He came "not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) How can I claim Jesus is my Leader if I never appear to be serving or giving my life away like him?
Someone will watch you today to see what God is like. Will they see God who loves to give or a stingy God? It's your call.
If you would like to hear the entire message from Sunday, you can hear it here or subscribe to it here.