Our church is currently in the annual phase of formulating our upcoming budget for 2012-2013. The finance team is meeting, the elders and ministry leaders are planning, discussing, forming visions, etc. We are working together to see where the Lord is leading us, how to work together, and evaluating our ministries. What gets lost in the shuffle sometimes is what is at bottom of an annual church budget, namely, the selfless, joyful giving of God’s people for His Kingdom, for His glory. Budgets simply outline priorities and set goals, they do not accomplish the ministry. It’s the giving that makes the difference. It’s the giving that accomplishes the goals, resources the ministries, enables endeavors, and more. Our level of prayerful, sacrificial, obedient giving not only reflects the status of our hearts before God, but it also sets the pace for our ministry as a whole. Simply put, the more we give, the more we can accomplish for the Lord and the more we are blessed.
In that light, I would like to present a series of articles under the title “The Joy of Giving.” The Scripture has a lot to say about our giving and how true joy is connected to how and why we give. I am convinced that as God’s people discover the joy of giving, the church is then enabled to pursue any ministry endeavor that the Lord may place before us. Oftentimes the only obstacle to expanding ministry or pursuing missions or taking on grand endeavors is our pocketbooks, not that don’t have anything to give but that we give it to so many other “priorities”.
What if we discovered together that it is more blessed to give than to receive? I mean by that, not that we discover that verse is actually in the Bible, but that we discover what the “more blessed” means because we are living it! Imagine if our individual members and families began to discover the joy of giving, by giving! What if the more we gave for God’s glory, the deeper our satisfaction, the surer our hope, and the more tangible our joy. What if each believer began to realize that the more we lose our life for His name’s sake, the more we find life!?!
As a Teaching Pastor, my purpose here is not to raise funds. If we embrace the Scripture, the funds will be there! The Holy Spirit is the fund raiser, not me. No, my purpose is rather to teach some of what the Scripture says regarding our giving. In doing so, I pray that we all (myself included) step out in faith, live out the Scripture, and not just give it a head nod. My purpose is for us to discover the joy of living this life for the next, even in the realm of our finances.
To do so, we’re going to have to believe. We’re going to have to believe that God is the biggest Giver. We’re going to have to believe that Scripture is true. We’re going to have to believe that the blessing of giving far outweighs and outlasts the deceptive, temporary, unsatisfying “blessing” of keeping or taking or getting. We’re going to have to put our faith to the test.
I’m confident we will NOT be disappointed. I am confident the Scripture will ring true. I am confident that if we launch out on this journey, we will be able to personally affirm that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”