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Messiah Stewardship 2024 - Live Generously

Stewardship 2024 - Live Generously

Trust in God, who richly provides us with us with everything to enjoy. Do good. Be rich in good works. Be generous and ready to share. 

1 Timothy 6:17-18

How much should I give?

It is stewardship time at Messiah. Usually every autumn, we put together a packet of materials for members to read and hopefully be inspired to make a financial commitment to the ministries of the congregation for the coming year. Part of the process is for each household to calculate an annual gift amount. How do you determine that figure – your gift to the church?

The traditional approach

The Old Testament set the standard that God's people should set aside a tithe (one-tenth) of their produce (income) to the work of the congregational community. However, scholars differ on the actual number of tithes the Jewish people were to make. There are references in the Old Testament about an annual tithe to support the Levites (the priesthood), as well as another tithe to support the poor. In addition, there is a tithe of the first fruits to have an annual celebration (party). Perhaps 10% - upward to 30%, to support the congregation and all in the community.

For the most part, Christians have continued this traditional number of 10% of income as the target believers should be giving to the church. However, the word tithe is not found in the New Testament nor is the amount used to describe how much the followers of Jesus should give.

Be Generous

St. Paul tells us we should be generous in our sharing with others; sow bountifully. What exactly does generous mean? How much is bountiful? Our American dictionary states that generous means showing a readiness to give more of something – as in money or time – than is strictly necessary or expected. Giving more than expected is an ongoing theme in Jesus' teachings. Throughout His parables and stories, Jesus taught His disciples to do more than what might be expected. Just a few examples: Forced to go one mile – freely go a second mile. Love your neighbor – love your enemy as well. Forgive someone seven times? No – seventy times seven. The Gospel frees us to share more, give more, and love more.

Your Definition – Your Decision

Ultimately, each one of us must personally decide what it means to be generous. St Paul writes in his message to the Corinthians, You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

Stewardship letters will be coming to you soon via email. With that email, you will be able to connect to an online stewardship pledge form and additional resources. We will also have paper versions of the pledge forms for those of you who wish to complete the old fashion way. I encourage you to complete a pledge of financial commitment to Messiah for 2024. When deciding how much you should give to Messiah, ask yourself – is this a generous amount for me to be giving?

Be Generous!

Doug Ruecker

Messiah's Financial Secretary

PS: Watch for future communication here in Northern Highlights and other Messiah venues for stories of generosity and personal definitions of what it means to be generous.

Sunday December 3rd will be the day to return financial pledges during worship. Thank you for your continued support to the ministry of Messiah Lutheran Church.

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