There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all people.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6

The disciplines of stewardship and self-offering are a grateful response to God’s love for the world and selfgiving in Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are called to lives of simplicity, generosity, hospitality, compassion, and care for creation. Tithing is a primary practice of Christian stewardship and self-offering. We are accountable to God for how we use our material goods, spiritual gifts, and time in God’s service. W-5.0103

One of the hardest things to talk about in our culture is money. It tends to divide folks. We are secretive and have a very hard time sharing our money. Why is that? Some think it’s because of the rugged individualism associated with rural America for years—I earned it so it’s mine and no one is telling me what to do with it. Yet without sharing our resources as God plans, there would not be schools, clinics, roads, or churches. Why is it so hard to consider that we live in a community, called by God together to share what we have to His glory!

Jesus talks about economics and money more than most topics. His stories are about money, his talking to would-be disciples talks about money (consider the rich man who asks to follow Christ and the response from Jesus, “Go sell all you have and give to the poor then follow me”), and his criticism of Rome and the Jewish leaders centers on money and economics (the foreign vineyard owners for example).

The Biblical call from Genesis to the epistles calls us to think of money not as a reward or goal but as a tool used in God’s service. Our Reformed teaching tells us to use money wisely and in service to God is worship. Our Book of order quoted above tells us that Tithing is a primary, a main, the first way to worship God and give of yourself to His service.

What that means is this—you don’t look at the operational costs of the church as something that you give to when you get something out of it. It is not a tip for good service or a fee for services rendered. It is an act of worship and following God to give to the church and to tithe. It is like your utilities or your house bill, like your taxes. It is something you should do automatically to show your gratitude at the love of God shown you and to better the faith community. A tithe is 10%, but most research says the average Christian member today gives 1-3% only. So if you make $25,000 a year in any type of income, $2,500 a year should be given to the support of the church (that’s $48 a week at a tithe as opposed to the average which is $4 a week).

So here is a challenge to every member—on this our 125th anniversary as a church, try to raise the amount you give by 2% points until you reach 10% (so if you give only 1% try giving 3%--or from $4 to $14 a week) and then give $125 in addition to the general fund between now and December 31. What a difference it makes to see our money like we see our time and talents, as things given by God to be used to build and serve Him. What a difference it makes if we mean what we say when we stood up at either confirmation or when we joined the church and pledged to be a faithful member and to worship God together.

- Pastor Tim

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