“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”
September is pledge month at Bethany Lutheran Church. Our theme is revisiting the concept of being “blessed by giving”. Each Sunday during the offering, we have had members of our church share during temple talks how they have been blessed by giving of their gifts. These gifts might be finances, talents, and time.
In our world today, many of us are living in a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. And most of us don’t have a choice about that. Whether you are living on a fixed income, a complete lack of income, or somehow the budget never seems to make sense – you’re not alone.
And so a pledge month at your church home might feel difficult. You might not be be able to increase your giving financially, and so hearing a phrase like “blessed by giving” might be frustrating.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Blessed by Giving Financially
I’ll be brief on this one, since the money part is always awkward. But the truth is, our financial gifts make a tremendous difference. Regardless of if we’re tithing a full 10% of our income or more. Maybe we’re not able to give at that level. Maybe we don’t have as many financial gifts to share.
And sharing these gifts shouldn’t be a burden.
Paul says in his letter to the church in Corinth,
“For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (Corinthians 8:12-13)
I’m not here to tell you how much to give or where to give it. Of course, the stewardship team hopes that you will prayerfully consider your financial giving to your church. But more than anything, I hope during these prayers, you’ll think about what a blessing these gifts can be.
Not just to your church and your community, but in your own life.
A generous heart opens us up to the possibilities of God’s work in our lives. And yes, the financial giving keeps the lights on, it helps us to create programs and events to reach out into our community, to create worship and to care for each other. But we can be blessed by giving, knowing that the finances we received are also gifts from God.
And like God gives to us, we can also give, we can also share, and we can make small differences in whatever way possible.
Blessed by giving talents
I am so appreciative for our service and youth team. Listening to Pat share during her temple talk all the reasons why she serves was truly moving.
Particularly when she began to share why she is so focused on serving our youth. It’s because she recognizes that God has given her a gift in her talent – in her ability to work with children.
Gifts given and then shared
And this gift not only serves them, but it serves her too. She shared that after a day of working with kids, she is full of energy and excitement. She knows that she is meant to share this gift because she knows this was a gift given to her first.
And this might not always be something like a talent for working for kids, this might be the skills to care for a building, or the ability to sing. Personally, sometimes this is the joy I get out of hearing that a blog post I wrote for the church’s website was enjoyed by someone else. Getting to experience the small ways our talents can make a difference around us.
Blessed by giving time
And sometimes, we can’t give as much from our finances or our talents and we would like to. Our circumstances might change. It might be harder for us to stretch a fixed income. It might be more difficult for us to lift a hammer or stand up to volunteer at an event.
But something we do have, is time.
There’s always time
It might be coming in to the church office to fold bulletins. Maybe it’s baking communion bread at home. Or maybe you think it’s time to check in with the office staff or pastor to see if there’s a way you might be able to serve that fits your abilities.
God gives us this time here in our world, God gives us all the time we have. And so we can share some of that time too, even in small ways.
Blessed to be a blessing
The truth is, there are lots of scripture verses about being blessed by giving. Plenty of verses that tell you that if you give you will get back in return and so on.
And I know I can think of so many examples of how I have been blessed in giving of my time, talents, and finances.
But the real truth is, we don’t give because we are blessed by giving.
We give because we have been blessed to be a blessing.
God gives us these gifts, these finances, talents, and time, in order that we bless others.
And because God just can’t help but share these gifts to us with love and joy, even though we might not always feel it or expect it, we too are blessed in sharing these gifts given to us.
What ways has God blessed you? How have you been blessed to be a blessing? What are some ways you have shared your gifts? How have you experienced being blessed in your giving of time, talents, and funds?