Church Covenant, Section 9 (Newsletter 02.14.18)

Dear Church Family,

The ninth section of our newly adopted church covenant reads: “We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the relief of the poor and those in need, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all the nations.”

All Christians are called by God to be generous givers. Why? We are called to emulate Jesus and He is the ultimate Giver. In Him, we have been given infinitely more than we could ever give. God blesses us when we give. Part of God’s blessing on our earthly and eternal lives is in proportion to our giving. God has blessed us in order that we might be a blessing through our giving. Our giving proves the grace of God in our lives and our submission to the Gospel of Christ. We trust Him to provide. (see 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)

We are called to contribute. Contributing implies we are sharing the financial burden with those we have linked up with. We aren’t meant to bear the whole load on our own. We are meant to work together to provide for our common needs in pursuit of a common mission. God’s people are meant to be marked by a giving that only makes sense in light of eternity. Our giving on earth is meant to prove our hope is in God to repay us and not man. (see Matthew 5:42; Luke 6:30, 34-36; 14:12-14; Proverbs 19:17)

Furthermore, this is true for Christians who are rich and those who are poor. Our giving may seem so small and insignificant that we might as well not even bother. But friends, we must remember Jesus’s observation about the widow’s two small copper coins in comparison to the gifts of the rich. He told His disciples, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.” All of us are called to contribute regardless of how much or how little the amount may be. (see Luke 21:1-4)

Now, in light of the blessings associated with giving and the plethora of causes we could give toward, our covenant narrows down the bare minimum of where we are committing to give. As members of this local church, we have committed to the support of the ministry, the relief of the poor and those in need, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations through this church. There are numerous ministries, poor and needy people, and missions agencies in the world—and there always will be until Christ returns. There will always be more worthy causes to give money than there is money to give. We recognize this limiting practicality and have agreed on the wisdom of seeking to accomplish all three of these purposes through our giving to this church. In other words, we should give first and foremost to the church we are members of and then wherever else we deem best as we have excess. I know you pay me to be your pastor, but I would say this even if I wasn’t. This is our family and we are uniquely committed to provide for God’s work through this church because of that. (see Mark 14:7; Galatians 6:6, 10; 1 Timothy 5:18; Romans 15:25-26; 2 Corinthians 9:12; Acts 4:34; Matthew 28:18-20)

Notice, nowhere in this section of our covenant is anything said about any dollar amount or percentage, but what is brought out is that it matters how we give. We are committed to give cheerfully and regularly. For the sake of our church and God’s glory, no one should give reluctantly or under compulsion. We should give as we have decided in our hearts after they have been filled with joy at the opportunity to share in God’s work. This is part of the reason why it is wise to prayerfully decide ahead of time what you ought to give and then set aside a portion each Lord’s day as an act of worship. God loves a cheerful giver regardless of the amount of money being given. The purpose is not for some to be eased while others are burdened, but as we give according to our means—and beyond our means where God so leads—God provides for His people and blesses them by it. Your conviction may be that you ought to give ten percent or maybe even twenty-five percent and that’s well and good. But the main thing is that we give from the joy we have in believing in Jesus and the faith that it is more blessed to give than receive. (see 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 20:35)

Gentry