Our church is not composed of many wealthy people. Though everybody has discretionary money, not many people consider themselves to be people of means. And I could take this as an excuse to not expect people to be generous. But I don't.
I am convinced that people at Anchor want to be generous, in fact many of them are - more than they realize.
Often people need a compelling cause, a specific need, towards which they can lavish their generosity. You would think that with all the non-profits out there, people would already be convinced of places/people to give towards. I heard today on NPR that the average American gives about 2% of their income to "charity"...I've heard that stat before, and apparently, when compared to the rest of the world, 2% is alot.
One time I guesstimated the level of giving at Anchor, and I think it settled somewhere around that number. But I keep inviting people to generosity. God doesn't call us to 2% giving. Nor 10%. He calls us to the kind of generosity that he pours out on us...!
And God keeps giving us really neat opportunities to be generous.
Our church is helping families and individuals get great Christian counseling. This is expensive ministry, but it has very rich rewards. But it takes money. Generous amounts.
We have five missionaries we support. And more possibly on the way. What a beautiful opportunity - all these missionaries are beautiful, engaging, Christ-following single women who have become apostles - "sent ones" for the sake of the Gospel - Macau, Azerbijian, Vietnam, Haiti, Peru - and possibly Uganda and Russia. And they need generous amounts of money to do their amazing ministry.
We have families in dire need for home repairs, car repairs, health needs and crisis help. And those responses, while requiring empathy, time and energy, also require money.
And Anchor could really benefit from hiring an Associate Pastor to really help care even more deeply for those in our neighborhood, helping more and more people follow Jesus and his Way of life. But that would take money.
Maybe Anchor should just accept the fact that we don't have much money at our disposal, and do ministry/life accordingly, live within our means.
But I have this strong sense that God is giving us opportunities to be sacrifically generous - in order that great things might be done by Him through us. And I know that I am resistant at times - too many times - at being sacrificial or generous. But there are those moments when I am - and others are - and we feel really really alive...like this is part of what is best about following Jesus.
Anchor has opportunities to help more people follow the way of Jesus - and our generous giving of money will reveal our trust in God, our compassion for our neighbor, and where are treasures are stacked up.
So where are your treasures, Tim?