Count Me In!…
Why we give is more important to God than what we give. Lest you think I am talking only about money, then I will tip you off: I do not care about your money. I care more about you. If you never gave a dime to this church but served in its ministry, it would be okay with me. But I am not Jesus. What he thinks about you matters more than what I think. Our stewardship theme, “Count Me In!” evokes a personal reply. We feel God’s call to get involved and to be included in what God is doing. We have more to offer God than our money. Count in our time, our talent, our energy, and our creativity. Our giving money is the easiest part, and possibly the part that concerns Jesus the least. If you want to get someone off your back, just make a financial donation.
In this church, we do not take up a collection; we receive an offering. There is a difference: a collection is a way to raise funds. We write a check, give cash, and we are done with it. An offering is a way to praise God. Offerings are never over. We are never finished with God. We are always surrendering our lives to him. Anything we give to God is a response to what he has already given. We give because God first gave to us. The order God puts on giving: first the self and then money. Before we give to God, we must first receive from God. What makes some people generous and others stingy? Maybe it is our culture or how we are raised, or seeing the glass always half-full. I would suggest that it boils down to which one of two views of life we hold:
Scarcity or abundance? Do we sense that our abilities and resources
are gifts entrusted to us by God or do we believe that life is hard,
resources scarce, and we must scrape all of our lives? Is there
only enough for you or is there enough to share? Do you have
what you need or do you need 25% more than you have?
Which category fits you? The Bible begins and ends with abundance. It is the nature of God to endow/bless. Are we giving God our best or our partial best? All giving involves risk and it takes guts to leave our ruts. God has bigger plans for us than what we put in the plate; what matters is not the size of our pledge but the convictions of our heart. We give because Jesus is worthy of our giving. He tells us that our meager resources, in God’s hands, will be used in great ways. He expects us to offer our best and money is a small part of our best. What grieves Jesus about many of his followers is not that we have money, but that money is all we have. Listen again to those words calling to you: Count Me In! ____ How will you finish the sentence?