July 2021 –
Summer has arrived and pandemic protocols are loosening. It is time to be outside and enjoy the company of friends and family we have missed for the past sixteen months. Everyone is excited to be anywhere but inside and separated from one another. Traditionally activity at the church slows a little during the summer. However, this summer we will be more active than any time since the pandemic began. The Lord blessed First Covenant during the pandemic, our expenses decreased more than our income. When we begin to engage more fully in ministry our expenses will begin to rise. As we move outside, travel, and enjoy the weekends please remember the church in your giving. First Covenant is a generous church in so many ways. Everyone agrees generosity and stewardship are valuable virtues to practice. We learn from scripture that God is not just concerned with how much we give, but also the “quality” of the gift. Are we giving God our first and our finest? Or are we just giving God our leftovers? In the days of Moses, God laid out an offering model that involved giving the choicest of options. God did not ask for the sheep that was sickly, the runt of the litter, or the animal that would place 2nd in a livestock competition. God asked for the first and finest of what the people had to offer. Today we are called to give God our best, not because God needs our gift. God doesn’t. We are called to give for 2 reasons—-1) God is worthy of our gift, and 2) It is a tangible way that we put God first in our lives.
It is easy to give what we do not want, our used leftovers; but such gifts cost us little. A gift that honors God is one that requires sacrifice, because that is the gift that reflects our hearts.
When we give our first and finest, we acknowledge the position God holds in our lives. In turn, the conversation becomes less about checking a box that a certain percentage was given and more about the heart with which we give. When we address the heart of the issue real giving born.
-Pastor Chris Weichman