We are in the midst of our annual pledge campaign. As you discern what you will pledge to the church for the 2015 calendar year please reflect on three traditional church teachings about giving: Give to God out of love and gratitude and blessing. Give your best. Give proportionally to your harvest or income.
Give out of love and gratitude. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." The spirit in which we give is important. Reflect on the blessings you enjoy and give out of love and thanks to God. Reflect on the blessing of being able to give rather than being in the position of depending on others to provide for the church.
Give your best. In one of my favorite hymns, In the Bleak Mid-winter, we sing, "What can I give him, poor as I am, if I were a shepherd I would give a lamb." In Biblical times a spotless, unblemished, perfect lamb, the best of your flock, was the ideal gift to the Temple. Today our transactions are in money. One dollar is pretty much like another. So we need to think in terms of priority. How does your gift to God compare with the other things you spend money on? Is it up there with what you spend on what is most important to you like rent, food, tuition? Does it compare with what you spend on your car? Or does it fall around the level of what you spend on coffee, beer or wine? Reflect on how your gift to God compares.
Give proportionally. "From those to whom much has been entrusted, much is expected." When your circumstance improve give more. When your circumstances decline give less. Some bench marks to keep in mind are the Biblical standard of 10% of your harvest. The national average of giving is around 2.5% of gross annual income. Reflect on the proportion you give, not just the absolute amount.
Bear in mind that every gift is important, and that our campaign goal is for everyone to give something out of love and gratitude to God, for us to give the best we can, and to give in proportion to our means. Every gift of any size will be gratefully received and faithfully used for the work of God through St. Luke's.