Epworth United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Why We Give
We believe that we are called to give as God gives, to share as God shares - to be like God.
"Love your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)
We believe that giving is an act of worship and one of the ways in which we love God with all our heart. As we grow in faith, we realize that our entire life is given to us as a gift from God - and we respond. As stewards of God’s gifts, we accept that we're accountable to Him for how we use them.
How We Give
We believe that our giving best represents faithful stewardship when it bears these hallmarks:
Intentional – By planning our giving and declaring our financial intention through a pledge, our giving to God becomes a central part of our overall financial plan, not an afterthought. If we don't plan to give we will never maximize our giving. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Regular – By following through on our pledge, we become regular givers in support of God’s work. (1 Corinthians 16:2)
Generous – To those who give generously, God gives more. But what he gives is seed, which is meant to be re-sown. When you look at what you do with money, you will see where your treasure lies and where your heart stands. Christians have the opportunity to give generously and from the heart, touching others by both action and example. (Luke 12:34)
“First Fruits” – By giving the first of everything we receive from God back to Him, we make giving to God our top financial priority, with personal budgets and lifestyles being built around our giving. First fruits giving is an expression of gratitude and an acknowledgement that all we have comes from God. (Deuteronomy 26:1-2)
Proportional – Proportional giving is giving back to God a measured portion (percentage) of what God has given us in a committed and faithful manner. We pledge or give in proportion to what we have or make. The Bible states a specific obligation - the "tithe" (10% of what we've received from God). This standard may be too high for many of us to think about at first. But we encourage all to give proportionately at whatever percentage they can initially manage, and to commit to growth toward or beyond the tithe year by year. (Luke 12:48b)
Cheerful – We do not give fearfully in order to receive God’s grace, but joyfully because we have already received God’s grace. Receiving is great, but the exhilaration is greater when you are able to give to another person. The Holy Spirit uses your giving to deepen your faith in Christ. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Ways to Give