In the Bible we time and again see Jesus’ unstinting sharing of himself with others.
Time and again we see Jesus outspoken in his rejection of any meanness of spirit.
Above all, the ultimate demonstration of God’s generosity is seen in the way Jesus gave himself utterly, to the point where he died on the cross for us.
So, why give?
Because God has given so much to us and expects us to share what we have with others.
Because it is part of our worship of him – a response to the fact that we have a generous God (We love because he first loved us).
Because God wants us to work with him to build his kingdom here on earth, here in Chessington.
How should we give?
Generosity is an essential part of our discipleship. And it’s not just about the giving of our money. Rather, it’s about how we spend our time, our talents (gifts and abilities) and our possessions. Living generously needs to impact the whole of our lives.
We need to commit ourselves to worshipping God with praise and thanksgiving. Coming to church needs to be a priority, giving God the place and worth he deserves. God cannot be second best or just one amongst a number of hobbies and interests.
We need to look on the universe as God’s creation and therefore treat its resources with care and as being God’s provision for the needs of all humankind.
We need to regard our lives, our possessions, our gifts, skills and abilities as gifts from God. They are to be enjoyed and used for our own benefit and for the benefit of those we love. They are also to be used for God’s service for the benefit of others.
How much should we give?
This is something only you can decide with God. The Bible does however provide us with some helpful principles which should govern how we give. 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 is a wonderful Bible passage of the grace of giving. I would encourage you to prayerfully read these chapters when you are considering your giving:
- A priority. We are to offer God the best of ourselves rather than what is left over.
- Prayerfully and Cheerfully. Our giving should be given freely. Not reluctantly but cheerfully. Not out of sense of duty, compulsion or obligation but as a way of joyfully acknowledging the fact that God blesses us with so much. Gratefully celebrating the way Jesus became poor that we might be rich in him.
- Carefully – In a planned and regular way. Rather than putting a bit of loose change in the collection when we turn up our giving should be carefully planned and given on a regular basis (weekly or monthly).
- Proportionately. Realistically to our income. The Church of England encourages us to give 5% (£1 in £20) of our take home pay or pension (income after tax and national insurance is deducted) to the church and a similar amount to the work of charities that help to build God’s kingdom.
- Generously and Sacrificially. As much as we are able for the salvation of others. Whilst our giving needs to be realistic – we cannot give what we haven’t got – our giving should be costly. If we are not noticing the effect of our giving on our lifestyle than its time to review our giving. Confidently trusting that God will always supply our genuine needs.
- Encouragingly. So that others can give praise to God for what he does through us.
How can we give?
At St Mary’s you can do it in several ways:
- Standing Order. This is the simplest and best way to give. After the completion of a short form your monthly gift goes directly out of your bank to the church by Standing Order. This also saves you the trouble of writing cheques or placing cash into the weekly collection.
- Envelope Scheme. If you elect to join this scheme, we will provide you with 52 dated envelopes for your weekly cash or cheque gift. If you are unable to come to church for a week or two you pop your gift in the envelop and then bring the envelopes for the Sunday’s you’ve missed with you when you are next able to come to church.
- One-off Gifts in the collection plate. These gifts are greatly appreciated, and if you pay tax, place your gift in one of the blue envelopes in church, complete your details, and your gift increases by 25% from the tax we can reclaim. Imagine the difference that can make; and it doesn’t cost you a thing!
- Wills and Legacies. Finally, if you’ve made a will, or are thinking about it, why not consider leaving a legacy to the church. Gifts in wills, big or small, can really help the church to achieve something that we cannot otherwise do.
What we do at St Mary’s is only possible through the generous commitment of time, prayer, energy, skill and money that church members are willing to give. Please prayerfully consider how you can help our church to develop and grow, to reach out into our local community.