Sunday was a such great time to worship together. Speaking personally, I am so blessed to serve a congregation like Concord and to witness what God does through members of this community.
On Sunday afternoon while driving to my pastor’s retreat this week, I realized that I did not get the change to offer up practical sermon illustrations regarding money. This is important for us to think about each day as we focus on God’s love, instead of worldly riches. I figured that I would write about them for the blog this week.
Practice thankfulness each time you pray
Paul writes in Philippians 4:4-5: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” We often think that prayers to God only include asking for stuff. While it is obviously important to petition God, it is important to also remember to thank God for what he has given us. Many of our woes concerning greed and loving money really have to do with having a twisted perception. We focus on our discontentment in life rather than abundance. We often forget the countless blessings God has given us. Remembering to thank God allows us to keep these blessings in mind and be filled with appreciation and gratitude.
Money is often the source of great stress among relationships. Marriages can easily fall apart without openness and transparency regarding finances. Our bible story from Acts 5 on Sunday also drove home this point, too. We are called to be honest and avoid deception when dealing with money and other personal property. When we are dishonest, we run the risk of thinking we don’t truly need God in our lives.
Set goals for generosity–whether that be 1% or 10%
A common Christian goal and practice in our world is to give a tithe of what you make–commonly assumed to be 10% of your income. The 10% number is generally based off of several Old and New Testament passages, particularly in the book of Numbers about giving away one-tenth of what you earn as a sacrifice to God.
As we all know, budgeting can practically benefit us as we get our finances in order. It helps us track where our money goes. From a biblical perspective, however, we must remember that we are entrusted with God’s resources to manage. In other words, we could view money-handling as an opportunity to be stewards of God’s blessings. God calls us to share what we have with those in need, from feeding the hungry to using our time to practice outreach. Likewise, it’s important to set specific goals for living a life of charity.
I encourage everyone to financially support at least one Christian ministry, whether that be Concord or a nonprofit. When you set these kinds of stewardship goals, it is important to start out small–maybe commit to tithing 1% of your income–and then build from there. Maybe after a year of fulfilling your goals of generosity, increase that steadily. Realize that setting even a small goal like this can help you become more invested in the ministries of God’s kingdom.