Our church has been participating in on-line giving for almost a year and about 10% of our giving comes through online. As you know, I seldom just write a blog that deals exclusively with our congregation, but I really wanted to take a moment and express to you why our family decided to give this way and why each member should consider this option.
I have found that in our life we tend to automate the important. Most of our bills are paid online and we set up automatic debits so as not to “forget” the necessary. We show our priorities and set reminders or automate giving towards the things we DO NOT want to overlook or be tempted to wait on - things like our house payment, insurance and similar bills. In our lives as a family, the only time we ever wrote a check was for the offering (certainly we have people that still give this way in our church and that’s great)… but, the ultimate priority in our home is Christ, and our giving at TBC should be one of our top priorities! How many times, when things are tight, are you tempted to withhold that check you have not yet written? But, the battle going on inside of you at that point – the one that pushes you toward faithfulness, obedience and trust vs. the one that pulls you toward the easier “out” – that battle can be avoided by building in some accountability with automated giving. Certainly that is not the end of the war with our flesh as automatic drafts can always be changed, etc., but in doing so we must “step over” our convictions to alter our tithe and plans and thus, it causes us to slow down and realize the steps we are taking into disobedience. If we would put filters on our computers to guard our eyes, put restrictions on our tv shows to guard our minds, why would we not put accountability in place in our finances to guard the area we probably struggle with more than any other (an area we are tempted with disobedience probably more than any other) – faithfulness and trust in our giving.
At Trinity, we are increasingly becoming more mission minded and I am blessed to be a part of a church that cares deeply about reaching people for Christ. I know that the Lord chooses to use the obedience of His people in giving and sharing the gospel to see lives transformed by the grace of Christ. Each month when I am doing our finances, I am reminding myself that the difference between paying my house payment online and giving on line for Kingdom work, is that I am investing in eternity and blessing others when I give to the Lord vs. paying for something that will only burn up one day when I pay my mortgage. Now, I am not saying that we should not pay bills or that our mortgage is unimportant, I AM saying that we should be mindful of the things of Christ even in the everyday things we do and the priorities we set with our finances.
The second reason we choose to give online is that it allows a teaching point for our children. Most of the time when we put our offering in the plate during a service, I was sitting in one place, Michele was sitting somewhere else because she had to slip in from the nursery or from teaching Sunday school, and the boys would be with their friends many times. But, we can give at home and it reminds us of the priority in our lives to keep the importance of giving in front of our boys. I hear so many people speak negatively about the “younger generation” - that they live only for video games, iphones, ipads, ipods and stuff in general. But, I believe if my boys watch Michele and I model giving, it can teach them generosity. I lead them in family worship, we model living our scripture as we walk each day, and it certainly can’t hurt to talk about why we give as a family.
Last, we give because it is commanded by God. We give on-line because of convenience and it has become how we do most all of our finances. But, we give because our Lord commands us to be givers. The word of God deals with stewardship and finances more than it speaks of prayer. Our desire is not to give in a reluctant way, but in a cheerful way. We give each month because it honors God. For our family, we give during the third week of each month. At one point last year we wrote our check and then went on vacation - the reason we wrote our check in advance was because we were not going to be in town the third week, and it would have been very easy to forget to do so when we are out of “our routine”. Later, when we went out of town to be with family in November, we were set up to give online and it was much more convenient and it automates my priorities. Anything I can do to make my life more organized I will do it!
Regardless of how you give, know that the desire of Trinity is to always use it for the glory of God and to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. But, with summer approaching and people out of town on vacation, I want to encourage you to at least try this convenient way of honoring our Lord and setting the standard of giving regularly for your family.