March 3 - 9, 2008
A 'Floor' of Personal Giving
Well into the second year when my tithe has been on autopilot – through automatic electronic monthly deductions – it’s easier and more painless than it’s ever been.
I’ve long since adjusted to the new cash flow, and I rarely give my donations a thought anymore. Moreover, now when I choose to give to special appeals or to other charities, I have the satisfaction knowing it’s all second-mile giving. This is just to emphasize, from a personal viewpoint, just how well automatic deductions can work for giving to the church.
Back in the days when I – gasp! – wrote weekly checks, I was always getting behind. So then by the end of the year “making up” for six or seven week’s worth of contributions exacted a very heavy toll. It was hard to write that check – especially at Christmas, when I needed my cash.
For the last two years I’ve emphasized to my church electronic giving through a free, no-obligation program offered by Thrivent Financial. We’ve included enrollment forms in our monthly newsletters, but surprisingly few people have joined. I think it’s because they feel obligated to sign up for the maximum amount they would ever want to give.
But I tell the families that electronic giving makes a lot of sense for folks who want to build up their giving painlessly. For instance, if a family decides it can give only $5 a week to the church, putting it on electronic giving makes it a regular, never-fail offering that they might give without a lot of pain. Then the next year, if they added another $5 a week, and another $5 the following year, and so on, they’d be approaching a tithe in good time.
The point is, automatic deductions provide an excellent way to establishing a giving base – a floor below which a donor would not fall.
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
Reprint rights gladly given to churches for local, nonprofit use. Just include this notice: “Copyright © 2008, The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.”
New This Week:
Christian Stewardship in Light of Theology of the Cross
Where does one look for insight into Christian stewardship? Right on the cross, where Jesus emptied himself for us and gave away everything. “Through the lens of the theology of the cross, we recognize that all we have, even life itself, comes from the pure grace and generous mercy of God,” says the Rev. Michael Cooper-White, president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, in this provocative essay. Click here for “Christian Stewardship in Light of Theology of the Cross. Click here for a Spanish version, “Mayordomía Cristiana a la Luz de La Teología de la Cruz.”
Almsgiving: A Papal Lenten Message
As a Lenten discipline that is good to practice anytime, Pope Benedict XVI suggests almsgiving to help Christians fight the temptation to turn money into an idol. “Almsgiving helps us to overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbor’s needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness,” Benedict says in a message. Click here for “Almsgiving,” posted on The Vatican website.
Can These Bones Live?
The Sunday’s lectionary reading from Ezekiel has special meaning for residents of the Upper Midwest who have been dealing with population decline and other problems. “Yes, those North Dakota “dry bones” not only stood up and rattled around, but they also gave witness to the same hopeful spirit that breathed in the first homesteaders, that this spirit is still alive and well.” Click here for this latest essay by SOLI columnist Sharron Reissinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.