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 I believe Jesus is calling my congregation - and all of us - to tithe and more.  I believe Jesus is calling us them lives of incredible generosity.  And Jesus is calling them to it for their sake.  There is incredible joy in a life of generosity.


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
Oct. 3, 2005

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Who benefits most when we give generously?

Last week I preached a sermon on tithing.  I think it was a pretty good sermon.  But I left out one very important point that I wished I had covered.  I wish I had told the members that I don't care if they tithe to the church, just that they tithe.

When I mentioned that point to the council of my last church, one of the council members who did tithe to the church got angry.  "The church needs the money,"  she said.  Well, okay, that may be true, but there are several reasons why I say I don't care to what good cause people give their tithe.

First and foremost, I did not preach that sermon on tithing for the sake of the church's budget or my salary.  I preached that sermon for the sake of the people whom I was challenging to tithe.  I believe Jesus is calling them -- and all of us -- to tithe and more.  I believe Jesus is calling us them lives of incredible generosity.  And Jesus is calling them to it for the same reason I am: For their sake.  There is incredible joy in a life of generosity.

I have long maintained that it was not for the sake of the poor that Jesus told the man (in Luke 18:18-25 ) to sell all his possessions and give alms, but rather it was for the sake of the rich man's soul.

Besides, if I had a whole congregation of tithers I am sure that there would always be enough for whatever God called us to do even if only a portion of their tithe came to the church.

There is concern that with all the disaster relief going on, other good causes will be short-changed.  I worry that the woman I helped with heating bills last winter will go without because someone else got the money that she is going to need in February.  I am trusting that God will open some hearts to help me help her when the time comes.

I know that when we all begin to open our hearts and our pocket books to meet the needs of others, which to me only begins with a tithe, then there will be enough to do the work that God calls us to and to care for the people God has entrusted into our care.

Then we will begin to know the joy of living in God's abundance.

Lord,
Help us to know that helping us to give is one of your ways of helping us to live.
Amen


 

Copyright (c) 2005, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.
 

The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.