When I was little, my family went to church. A lot. By a lot, I mean we were at church a minimum of three times each week. I know pastors who don’t go to church three times a week…
Usually, during a sparsely attended Sunday evening service (remember those?!), my pastor would say, “People who love the preacher come to church on Sunday morning, people who love the church come on Wednesday night, but the people who really love Jesus come to church on Sunday night.”
That proclamation was frequently followed by the obligatory, “Can I get an ‘amen’?” All eight people in the crowd gleefully complied. Sunday nights were a real barn burner…
At the risk of disagreeing with my former pastor, I don’t think church attendance is the best demonstration of love and trust in God; our obedience in giving best demonstrates our devotion to God.
As I’ve been reflecting on our recent conversations about managing money, I learned something this week that is worth celebrating. It seems that God has been working on many of us, and we’re figuring out the correlation between our wallet and our trust in God.
Last Sunday, more people gave than on any other Sunday in the history of the church. It wasn’t the largest offering, but I’m far less concerned with the amount than I am the increasing number of people who are practicing obedience in giving. More and more of you are trusting God, and as a result, you’re trusting the church to wisely manage your offering. That’s a big deal!
For you spreadsheet and numbers people, here’s some perspective: in 2015, The Church @ Clayton Crossings average 64 weekly givers. In 2016, that number increased to 66. Get ready to get excited: we’re averaging 98 weekly givers in 2017!
To help those of you who still may be on the fence, I’ve come up with a list of five benefits to adopting a generous and giving heart (and none of them have anything to do with paying the pastor’s salary):
- I remember that everything comes from God.
- I tangibly demonstrate my trust in God by giving back something in which I used to place my trust.
- I make a financial investment in someone else’s eternity and spiritual growth while, at the same time, strengthening my own faith.
- I recognize my partnership in God’s plan by giving to something that will outlast me.
- I honor God by giving, saving, and spending according to what God knows is best for me.
I’ll be the first to admit the difficulty of relinquishing part of your hard-earned money to God, especially if you’ve never regularly given to a church. As tough as it may be to start this discipline, I have been the recipient of tremendous blessings as God has grown and stretched my faith. I don’t know of anyone who has been able to out-give God. Why not demonstrate your trust and devotion this week? You’ll be surprised at how quickly and deeply your relationship with God grows.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
Malachi 3:10 NLT
What is coming up:
You can put your developing generosity to use today! A group of teenagers and adults from C@CC will be in Cuba from April 21-27 to provide hope and help to people who are in need. Will you provide resources that will help our team in their efforts to share the love of Jesus?
The deadline for donations is Sunday, April 16. Here’s a list of what they need, and you can bring your donations to the church office Monday-Thursday from 8:30am–4:30pm:
- Pain relievers for infants and children
- Pain relievers (travel-size ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.)
- Antacids and anti-diarrheal medication (travel-size)
- Travel-size toothpaste
- Travel-size shampoo
- Office and household items
- Reading glasses
- Small notebook (pocket-size)
- Men’s and women’s shoes–all sizes. Sandals are a favorite.
- Socks for children
- Undergarments for children
- Undergarments for adults
- 10 soccer balls
- 10 volleyballs
- Baseball bats, baseball gloves, baseballs (adult size)
- Monetary donations
- We would like to provide 325 Bibles (they cost $2.00 each) and supplies for Vacation Bible School for children.
- We are collecting donations for 50 pairs of adjustable shoes to bless children who don’t have shoes. Each pair costs $15 and grows with the child! To see this amazing resource God is using to reach children around the world, visit theshoethatgrows.org.
What John is reading:
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
About John Sanders:
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.