In many previous generations and still in some places today, Christians might be surprised that a pastor has to write in this way. But recently I had to remind the congregations I serve that there is something more important than charity. (more…)
It was in the early 1970’s and I wore my clerical collar as I approached her front door. The next-door neighbour had asked me to visit. I did not know the widow but the neighbour told me “She is dying and wanting to talk about it, but is afraid to ask for help”. (more…)
Where should we direct our giving? Surrounded by so many needs and opportunities it’s difficult to know where to start. Is there any priority or principle by which to choose whom to give to?
Giving is the Christian way of living. It involves more than money for we give ourselves to the Lord and to each other as we use the gifts that God has given to us to serve one another. We give our time, energy, interest, concern, prayers and hospitality—anything we have that could be used for the benefit of others. However, it does include giving money and that is what I am writing about. (more…)
Because ministers are the recipients of congregational giving they are hesitant to raise the issue of money. It is a hesitancy felt by both the congregation and the clergy.
Some ministers are concerned about church budget and press the issue too often and too hard. Others feel the apparent self-interest of raising the issue and so avoid it altogether. Some congregations are never taught about giving and others feel bombarded about money every time they come to church.
However, this tension confuses the subject of our giving with the object of our giving—or the gift of giving with the recipient of the gift. It confuses the questions of why, what and how we give with the issue of where best to direct our giving. It is the confusion of the long-term principle of gracious giving with the short-term immediate need for financial assistance. (more…)
The last person I heard speak to a group of Christians about raising money for ministry polarized the room. This was partly to do with how that person insisted on getting Bible references to support their ideas. As a result, it seemed to me that half the group couldn’t stop talking about what they saw as bad exegesis, while the other half were wondering why they weren’t taught this at theological college. So I approach this topic with some trepidation, because things you say on a topic such as this can sometimes lead people to tar you with a certain brush. (more…)
None of us wants to be the cause of another person’s sanctification – at least, not unintentionally – and yet, so often, that is what we are.
Is this one of the reasons that God allows us to become weak, dependent and forgetful as we grow older? Is it so we can place a necessary burden on those who were once dependent on us: a burden of forbearance and loving care? (more…)
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
… who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved. (Ps 15:1-2a, 5)
According to Psalm 15, a holy person does not put his money out at interest. Look at it again. See? That’s what it says. (more…)
“I’ll pray for you.”
“I’d love to give money to support that gospel or mercy ministry.”
“I’ll be part of that Bible distribution.”
This is a raw topic for me. My heart pours out for every good work. I want to support gospel ministries and pray for people. On so many things, I have all the right intentions, but not all the right carry through. (more…)
Following my post on being generous to fundamentalists and not so generous with others, I’ve had some interesting conversations about its implications. A good friend asked me whether my suggested attitude towards non-evangelicals of ‘supping with a long spoon’ meant that certain authors should not be read. Should we have a book burning in the Moore College courtyard? And would my friend be a heretic by association if, for example, he found reading Karl Barth a stimulating and a positive experience, even though he disagreed with Barth at a number of points?
The regular ‘money spot’ can be one of the most awkward and divisive moments in the life of a church. The time comes for the person responsible to update the church on its financial health, and in most cases, to urge an increase in giving to meet the shortfall. That update begins to increase in frequency as the urgency of the situation intensifies. (more…)
Here’s something simple and biblical.
- Buy something necessary, but not cheap, on behalf of your church—for example, all the meat for the men’s evangelistic barbecue evening, or a large amount of food for a soup kitchen.