The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (1 Corinthians 9:6)
Recently I came across a stewardship letter for the church from 1932 which I posted on Facebook. The church was doing an “every member canvas” where church leaders would stop at member’s homes to discuss their giving and collect their pledge card for the coming year. My favorite part is that members were expected to be home between one and six on a Sunday afternoon “so as to facilitate the work of the solicitors.” How do you suppose that would go over today?
The scripture above is from Paul’s appeal for donations for the church in Jerusalem. Followers of Jesus in Jerusalem were caught in the middle of the early conflict between the church, Jewish leaders, and the Roman authorities which made life difficult. Paul was asking distant churches to offer some relief. Thus begins the long tradition of the church offering.
The simple fact is that the church needs money. Whether it is to pay for a pastor, keep the lights on, or help a neighbor in need, money makes ministry possible. It’s my belief that as people see and value the ministry and mission of the church, the more they, that is you, will want to give.
Support of the church’s ministry is one reason to give, but it is not the only reason. It’s not even the most important reason. The biggest reason to give generously is because God made us to be generous givers and by being generous we become the people God made us to be.
We know this because we know how good it feels to help someone in need. We are created to be generous, to give freely of ourselves for the good of all. But the world around us works to stymie that urge. It tells us there’s not enough, everyone is out to get you, better to be selfish. This fuels our fear and anger, and we see what that has made of the world.
So yes, the church needs money, but we also need to give. When we give generously, “bountifully,” the church is able to fulfill our mission to proclaim Gods beloved community in the world and we are able to “bountifully” become the people God made us to be. The harvest we reap is a vital church filled with generous disciples, a bountiful harvest indeed.
Now if you would like, I’d be happy to stop by your house and talk more about this. Please be home Sunday afternoon between one and six.