Welcome to First Presbyterian Church of Independence Iowa!
God doesn’t need your money. This is a time of year when many churches are asking people to consider their giving for the coming year. So as you consider yours understand that God doesn’t need your money.
The Psalmist writes, “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”
A couple of Sunday’s ago a young man came into our church following worship and was asking to see the pastor. That would be me. I approached him believing he was going to ask me for help of some kind. He said his name was James, shook my hand, and offered me four $1 bills. He simply said, “This is my tithe to God.” I was surprised and explained he didn’t need to do that. Our church was doing fine. In the back of my mind I thought we really didn’t need his $4. I noticed how his countenance fell when I did not readily accept his gift. And then it hit me.
In Acts 20:35 we read, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We have been told this over and over again. Do you believe it’s better to let go than to get?
Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” Do you believe that if you give you will have less or more?
As I looked at James my epiphany was this. James needed to give his tithe to the church, to God, a whole lot more than the church needed the money. The point of giving anything, whether it’s our time or money, is what it does for us more than what it does for what we are giving to. I took James’ four $1 bills and said, “God bless you.”
Here’s a truth for you. No person was ever honored for what they received. People are honored for what they give. God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, has given us everything, including the gift of life through Jesus Christ. God is a life giver. And this is why giving is so critical. When we give we are life givers.
As you consider your giving to the church in 2016 are you aware that you have the God-given potential to be a life giver? You can be a difference maker. But, giving is not easy to do. So for those who are struggling with this you need to know you are not alone. God’s people have struggled with this from the beginning. Here is God’s challenge to people like us from Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Thanks for being generous. It matters. To others. And most especially to you.
Avri's youth group video from this past year... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfjPEPIpeBY&feature=youtube_gdata_player&app=desktop