Each member of God's Church has a role in completing God's work. It pleases Him when He sees our hearts in His work and we let Him direct us in how we can best serve. Besides traditional tithes and offerings, how have members contributed to preaching the gospel?
The last few years have taught me that life takes some unexpected turns. In 2011, it was a surprise to be asked to pastor a few churches in Florida. While I didn’t feel qualified to serve in that capacity, there was really no answer other than “yes”—the situation demanded it.
God gives us opportunities to learn, and we learn that He provides what we need. We learn to be ready to serve however He asks, putting our faith in Him, and letting Him lead us by His Spirit. And we learn that if we don’t look to Him to direct our paths, we will fail. For my wife and me, serving the people in our area and serving God in this role has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of our lives.
This past summer, when asked to serve as treasurer of the Church, it was like déjà vu all over again. It is a pleasure working with the home office team to serve God and you, as He directs His work, and as He provides our needs to fulfill the commission He has given us all.
You are probably expecting that this article will have something to do with finances. In fact, money and finance are an important part of the work, as well as our personal lives. There are many financial principles in the Bible, and God watches how we handle what He provides, expecting us to be wise stewards.
In 2 Chronicles:26:5, we find one such financial principle: “As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” We should seek God’s will daily as we go about our Father’s business, wanting to please Him in everything, just as Jesus Christ did (John:8:29).
He places us in His Body to grow and develop us, and every single member contributes and is necessary for the effective working of the Body (Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12). We are here to encourage and exhort each other and to use the talents and abilities God has given us.
Each of us has a role in the finances of the Church, too. It is by the faithful offerings, tithes and sacrifices of each member, coworker and donor that the work is funded. Every single one is important, and in those faithful tithes and offerings, God is pleased.
In just three months on the job, I have been heartened and impressed by the generosity and ingenuity of God’s people. Not only have tithes, offerings, Holy Day offerings, and other donations been consistently at or above budgeted levels, but we have received a few unconventional offerings as well.
For the first time in quite a while, I’m told, we received a few donations of stock. Yes, that’s right, stock as in shares of stock in various companies. I learned that we have a broker available who turned those shares into cash to be used in the work.
Recently we’ve received proceeds from a few estates, as well. Members had included the Church in their wills, and we received generous donations as a result. It is heartening to know that the work of God is so important to people that they take the time to include the Church in their final bequests, so that they continue to give, even after they die. It reminds me of the verse in Hebrews:11:4: “He, being dead, still speaks.”
Recently, we had a member write and donate his unused (and significant number of) frequent flyer airline miles. He said he didn’t intend to use them and wondered if they could be used in the work. So far, flights valued at over $1,500 have been booked from those airline miles.
How uplifting it is to see the desire to give to God in the hearts of His people. And in giving, we find another financial principle.
Another Financial Principle
Do you remember the joy in David’s and the people’s hearts when they willingly gave to the building of the temple? “They gave for the work of the house of God…gold…silver…bronze, and…iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord…Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles:29:7-9, emphasis added throughout).
God is pleased when He sees our hearts in His work. When David saw the joy in the people that day, his heart rejoiced and he asked God to help them remember that attitude: “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand...As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You (1 Chronicles 29: 16-18).
Let’s all determine to fix our hearts toward God, and to accomplish what He has called us to do. There is no greater work on the face of the earth today than God’s work, as He prepares His people and as the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God is preached to all the world as a witness to all nations.
We thank God for all His people and for your generous tithes and offerings. May we all continue to serve God and show our dedication to Him, continually asking Him to guide the efforts and direction of His Church, that His will may be done.