On Giving

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By Dan Amos

Shame gets in the way of being a disciple, because it drives us to hide things in our lives that we do not want to give over to God. In terms of the front stage-back stage metaphor, shame is the stuff we keep behind the curtain in a locked, unmarked room. In many ways, “giving” shares that room where we keep shame. We don’t talk about it … much. We don’t get really personal when we do talk about it. We certainly don’t tell people how much we make or how much of that we give back.

I checked Dave Ramsey’s website, because many of us are familiar with him and have taken the course to get our finances in order. He’s very simple in his methods and definitions — save, spend, and give. Giving is every bit as important as saving and spending. Our basic giving is called tithing.

Tithing is a scriptural mandate and is 10% of our income that we give back to God. Practically and simply, we give a tenth of what we earn to our home church. Elim’s ministry leaders, staff, and elders put together a budget each year for spending what is given to financially support the mission and vision of our church. Believers are led by God in Scripture to tithe. It is part of being a disciple.

Dave Ramsey writes, “Tithing was created for our benefit. It is to teach us how to keep God first in our lives and how to be unselfish people. Unselfish people make better husbands, wives, friends, relatives, employees, and employers.”

We believe many within Elim are faithful givers, but we also know that many don’t understand the principles of giving. I was in a community group with one couple who were new believers. We should have discipled them in all aspects of being a disciple, including giving, but because we were afraid to tread in this sensitive area, we did not. When they learned of what the Bible tells us, they were happy to know it. They told us of the joy they had in giving and knowing the truth. I regretted not being the one to share that with them.

The Stewardship Team and the Elder Board want to partner on making our finances a vibrant part of our growth as disciples. Giving isn’t a dues we pay to keep the Elim club going; it is our opportunity to be part of building the Kingdom on South Hill and beyond.

Make giving part of the conversation with those closest to you. Tell your Paul, ask your Timothy, or discuss it with your Barnabas. We would love to hear your story about how giving has impacted your life. You can comment on Facebook or the website or tell one of the Stewardship Team members or Elders. The Stewardship Team is led by Mark McCullough and includes Phil Pavey, Gregg Zimmerman, Bethany Gapsch, and Dan Amos.

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One thought on “On Giving

  1. Thanks, Dan!
    I don’t have a great story about how I wasn’t giving and then I gave and God met my needs. I hear those stories often. I grew up with the concept of giving as described above. It has become part of the fabric of my life as a follower of Jesus. When Corrie and I were first married titling was part of our budgeting and the line item title on the program we were using to keep track of tithing was “God’s Money (its really all His)”! This is so true. I don’t have anything that I did not receive from Him. So this act of giving, as I have prayed often, is giving back a small portion of what He has given to me and becomes my expression of worship: telling God I recognize my complete dependence on Him. So the only stories I can share are ones of God meeting my needs over and over again. He has been faithful over and over again…that’s who He is. I have spoken with several people over the years about giving and it seems it can be easy to come up with reasons why not to give…like, “at the end of the month there is no money left”. I remember a professor at Multnomah saying, “I understand not having enough money for rent, or food or clothes or gas…but I don’t understand not having enough to give to the Lord.” As he stated it, tithing is what we do first as followers of Jesus. We are to give our first fruits to Him as priority. Tithing becomes a perspective changer and a reality check as Matthew 6:31-34 tells us:
    31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    So the question to me and us is what is my priority?

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