|It is both a privilege and a responsibility to belong to a family. We have the privilege of living in loving relationships, but also the responsibility to care for those God has given to us, to love them, to provide for them, to give them time, to support them and nurture them. God likens the church to a human family, and if we belong to a church then there are similar privileges and responsibilities. It is an amazing privilege to belong to a growing and lively church like St. Stephen’s, where there are so many people of all different ages and backgrounds. It is amazing to know that people care for us, support us, teach us and look after us and our children. And perhaps above all, it is a privilege to know that we are loved and cared for by our heavenly Father.With the privilege comes responsibility to provide for the needs of the church family. Each of us needs to take this responsibility seriously, and it includes:|
– Praying for the church and for the family of God.
– Sharing the love of God with others.
– Giving financially to cover the costs of the church family.
– Caring for those who are struggling or in need.
– Getting involved in family life, especially regular worship.
– Giving time to help out.
All of us can pray; all of us have gifts we can offer; some of us have more time to give; others are able to give more financially. However, we all have responsibilities to the family we are privileged to be part of.
The Bible has lots to say about money and how we should give:
– In the Old Testament we are taught that one tenth of a believer’s income belonged to the Lord, this is known as tithing, and this principle we continue to teach and encourage.
– Jesus taught his disciples to give and that our giving is a personal thing, confidential to ourselves and God, and in St. Stephen’s we uphold this.
– The early church taught the importance of giving all to God and it has remained a fundamental part of Christian belief ever since.But Jesus gives us three ways to approach giving:
1. Giving is an attitude of grace.
Jesus warns us that we are not to be pre-occupied with accumulating things. What you have materially does not make us important or special in any way. Rather Jesus says in Luke 12 that those who have been blessed with a lot are expected to be very generous.
2. Giving is an act of worship and of love.
In Luke 7 we read of a woman who washed the feet of Jesus with costly perfume as her expression of love for her Lord. We have the privilege and the duty to share in that act. We also share a commitment to witness to the Gospel and serve the community. Not to join with other members of the church for these purposes is to hold something back in our commitment to Christ.
3. Giving is an affair of the heart.
Giving comes out of a heart response to God. Jesus says in Luke 12 that “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
Our first and most important priority in this life is the Kingdom of God and His service. We are to put God first in everything – our relationships, our schedules, with our money, in our day. Our lives are to be marked by service and sacrifice for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom. We are to be known for our love and generosity and our concern and care for the poor, troubled, and needy. All our resources are to be devoted to this end.Instead of chasing after riches, pleasure, possessions and social status, we should pour our energies and resources into the Kingdom of God.
You can raise funds when you shop on-line by visiting www.easyfundraising.org.uk and signing up to support “St Stephen’s Church Tonbridge” The most popular websites give 2.5% cash-back to the charity. read more…