From the Pastor
From the Pastor…
As the calendar year begins to wind down, so does the church budget year. This year we
find ourselves coming up short in our giving to fund a budget the church approved in conference. As our finance committee begins to develop a proposed budget for 2019, they are facing some hard decisions. Ultimately the question is simple: Which ministries are we prepared to cut?
I am not a fan of financial discussions because giving is such a personal matter. I have never wanted to know how much individual people give to the church. I do not advocate equal gifts, but equal sacrifice. So please understand that this article is written in love, and with much angst. As God’s people, I believe the Bible calls us to fund the ongoing ministries of the local church through our tithes. As a practical reminder, even when we miss church, the bills must be paid. This includes salaries, utilities, literature, insurance, and many other necessary expenses.
In Malachi 3:8-10, we find these words of the prophet: Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
These Old Testament words give us the only challenge in the Bible where God calls on us to test or try Him! Yes, Old Testament – which tells us that these words were adhered to by our Lord, Jesus (because we know that He was completely perfect as a man). You may be thinking that because we are no longer under the Law, we are exempt from these words. I would remind you that Jesus calls on us to give Him our all. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that a tithe (10%) is the minimum any of us should give to the Lord and His work through the local church.
All of this is to say that if we are not tithing, then we are missing out on one of the greatest blessings of being a Christian, and we are not being obedient to God. I have never met a person who faithfully tithed and found themself doing without the necessities of life – maybe some extra wants – but not the necessities. Quite the contrary, the great majority of people who question the principle of tithing are usually trying to figure out a way to give God less, not more. I challenge you: if you are not giving at least a tithe, give it a try and see if God does not meet your every need. I have never seen it fail!
Then there is the issue of the church budget. We have to increase our giving or reduce our spending. Presently we are doing without many needed ministry tools and are unable to accomplish everything we are called to do through the budget because we are simply not giving enough to meet budget. It is up to each of us to pick up the slack or decide that we are not going to be obedient to God. Will you join me in increasing our giving during these final two months of 2018? Will you commit to making an additional offering above your tithes to help us make up our budget deficit? Or are you willing to help us determine what ministries we need to jettison in the coming year so we can reduce our budget?
Times are hard. We work hard for the money we earn. But remember that we are merely stewards… it all belongs to God! If we are going to step out on faith and do the ministries God has called us to do, then we must be willing to fund those ministries. If we operate out of fear, then we cannot expect God to bless us and grow His church to our full potential. Let’s choose to step out on faith!
In Christian Love,
Pastor Bill Dennis