The church is the hope of the world because Jesus is the hope of the world. Because Christ lives in me and He lives in most of you reading this blog, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church of Rome, “It is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” What a privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Over the next four weeks, I am going to be teaching on the topic of generosity. I want to say up front that it is an awesome privilege to take a percentage of anything God the Father allows me to manage and to place it back into a local church that deeply cares for people and loves our community. These dollars we give in tithes and offerings have importance for both eternity and in this life. What a privilege it is to give.
And that’s the reason I want you to express generosity. The idea that “if we do this, then God will do that” is an Old Covenant concept. “If I give one dollar, then God will give me ten” is not in line with grace. The “if then” equation of the Old Testament is no longer in force in this wonderful age of grace. We give out of love. Love for Jesus and love for the things He loves.
God may not do anything for you, personally, at least anything you can see tangibly just because you decide to give a percentage to this church. You may never reap any personal reward. But together we will continue to make a significant difference. And together, we will alter the spiritual landscape of our community. We will prevent evil things from ever happening and we will intervene when difficult things do happen.
Because percentage giving to a local church is the best investment financially you can make in terms of making an impact in a community and in this world, that’s what I will be teaching and have taught for the past 23 years. I will always tithe to whatever local church I attend. Out of every ten dollars I earn, I will return one of those dollars back to God’s work through His church. I am not bragging. I’m only grateful. When I was lost in sin, broken and searching for hope, I was invited to church. I had great potential for evil and for sin, for irresponsibility and immorality. But Jesus met me. He drew me into His love, and the loving arms of dear Christian men and women began to pour into my life. I began to realize that in Christ, I had potential for good, for expressing Christ to those around me and to participate in extending Jesus ministry everywhere I went. I learned to read my Bible and live life by its power and wisdom. I learned to worship my God, to reach out to the least, the last and the lost, to bring the presence of the Holy Spirit into the lives of people I loved and to fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
And even though I am still learning and growing, the blessing of my local church is incalculable. I can only imagine what my life would have been like without Christ and the loving care of His church. Where would my family be? My marriage? My children and now my grandchildren. You see, there’s no way to measure what the local church has done for me and even prevented me from doing, not to mention my wife, my children and my grandchildren and the many hundreds of people who I have the honor of being their pastor.
I am so greatly encouraged by the nearly 100 young dads and moms who are investing time, energy and resources to gather on Wednesday evening and be instructed and encouraged to be Godly parents. This brings me great joy.
But I am also very grateful for the hundreds of families who for the past 5, 10, 15, and some 20 years have been faithfully giving a percentage of their income so our local church could have a facility for these young couples to meet. I am thankful for those who faithfully give and pay the electric bill, the water bill and purchase rolls of toilet paper so that people can gather and learn to live the Christ life.
That kind of giving isn’t flashy, it doesn’t raise goose-bumps on anyone’s arms, but it is necessary to accomplish the work of the local church.
I love my church and it is an honor for me to give to her mission. Together, let us discover what God has planned for our corporate body and the awesome things He has set before us to accomplish.
I love you all in Christ,