|Posted by Ryan on November 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM|
We are in the midst of the "Holiday Season." We’ve said goodbye to Halloween, Reformation Day, and Guy Fawkes Day; Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years Day will be here before you know it.
Thanksgiving Day falls right in the middle of the Holiday Season. Quite often today Thanksgiving has become the perfunctory day that stands in the way of “Black Friday” when we all rush out to Mal*Wart to get last year’s model big screen TV for $199 and a bunch of other stuff. It seems like it is almost a parable for the decay and decline of American culture that “Black Friday” consumption as taken precedence over Thanksgiving reflection and gratitude to God. Many Christians have lamented the change in what has become acceptable and decry it as yet another sign that American is no longer a “Christian nation.” I like to turn such complaints and judgments about the culture around. Before condemning the culture, we ought to look at our own lives and examine to see whether we are committing the same sins of consumption and ingratitude.
Christians complain that the modern American lives only for himself; he spends his money on himself and what he wants and does not respond in gratitude and generosity to God for the many gifts that God has given. Well let me ask you: are you responding in gratitude and generosity to God for the many gifts that God has given to you? Does your giving to the work of the Kingdom here at First Presbyterian Church reflect a deep and profound gratitude to God for His sending His Son to save you from your sins and bring you into God’s own family?
Under the Old Covenant, the Hebrews were commanded to bring in a tenth (a tithe) of all their produce to the Levites for the support of the ministry of the Church. Now under the New Covenant there are no Levites and no tithe, however God’s people are no less required to give to His Kingdom. In fact, if under the Old Covenant (when the people were less spiritual and knew Christ only in shadows) the people gave 10%, how much more should we be giving now, we who have tasted the fullness of Christ?
Paul reflects on how knowing Christ profoundly impacts our giving to the work of the Church, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (II Cor. 8:9).
Paul doesn’t lay out a percentage for people to give, rather he appeals to us to consider what Christ gave for us, and respond accordingly. If you know Christ’s grace, your priorities should look like Christ’s priorities: Not holding on to and getting stuff, but freely giving that others may come to know the salvation of Christ as well. Take time to examine your own giving to the ministry at FPCW and spending habits generally and consider whether you are being a faithful steward over what God has given you.
It’s one thing to want to give a big sum to the church if you have extra or when you die and have no use for “your” money, but it’s quite another to give regularly, faithfully, and sacrificially now. Faithful giving to the local church, faithful stewardship reveals a heart that has not been captured by the things of this world, but is hidden with Christ.