From the Pastor's Corner
- Author: Rev. Paul Larsen is the senior pastor at Christ the King Lutheran Church, New Brighton, MN.
- Updated: 06/23/2008
- Copyright: Paul Larsen
This is article was found in the congregation newsletter. Pastor Larson reminds the congregation St. Paul's succinct theology for Christian giving and stewardship by making four admonitions.
He encourages the congregation in its giving by writing:
"I hope you will join us in that growth so that the mission and ministry of our congregation can also grow. As we approach the onset of our Bear Fruit Stewardship Campaign, I hope will give prayerful consideration to this question, "How much will you grow in your giving in 2003?"
After a prominent psychiatrist finished his seminar presentation, a woman in the back of the room asked, "Doctor, what should I do when I feel a nervous breakdown coming on?"
The Doctor thought for a moment and then replied, "When you feel a nervous breakdown coming on, get out of bed, get dressed, leave your house, get into your car and go do something for someone."
St. Paul gives very similar advice to the people of Corinth as he urges them to give a generous gift to the starving Christians in Jerusalem in I Cor. 16:1-2.
The Corinthians were church members who could legitimately have said, "We have troubles of our own." Yet like the psychiatrist, Paul says that if we turn our attention to the needs of others, we will see our own difficulties melt like ice cream on a hot, sunny day.
St. Paul presents a very succinct theology for Christian giving and stewardship. He makes four admonitions:
1) Giving is an act of worship. On the day of worship, Sunday, set aside an offering.
2) Give systematically. If we give when we worship, we will give regularly.
3) Give proportionately to income. We can't give what we have not received. But we can withhold what we have received. Giving an amount in proportion to what we earn - a percentage of our income - controls that selfish human reflex.
4) Plan your giving in advance. Paul says, "By the time I have arrived, the offering will be in hand."
These four biblical foundations stones are as solid as they were twenty centuries ago.
The economic situation in the world has been rather bleak in the past year. It doesn't show signs of brightening up in the immediate future. If we take the advice of St. Paul and of that psychiatrist we will discover some relief for our anxiety by turning our attention outward.
As a congregation we need to turn our attention outward and see what we can do to expand our mission and ministry to others. As individuals we need to turn outward and see what we can do to alleviate the suffering of the saints and how we can share the good news of God's love with all the people of the world. If we do that we will also grow in our faith. Growth in giving does lead to faith growth because it causes us to trust God more and more.
Esther and I have found great reward in continuing to grow in our giving. Over the years we have grown beyond tithing and find real joy in it. We plan to grow in our giving again in 2003.
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul
"Now concerning the contributions for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as you may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem." I Cor. 16:1-3.