Part 4 of 4
What do we expect of TPC members?
Studies have shown that when certain expectations are set, it helps others develop their own group of rules and boundaries. It gives a sense of accountability to others, and creates goals for which to strive. In this series, I’ll discuss what the expectations are that go along with membership in Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church. The fourth is giving.
When we talk about giving, we often jump to a thought or certain assumptions we have regarding finances along with a church’s tendency to ask and our ability (or even limitations) to give.
We might wonder why it’s done or why we are called to be a giving and generous people. We might have a certain sense of skepticism when it comes to giving, perhaps due to a previous experience, a news story or rumors we’ve heard. That, by the way, is one of the reasons we at TPC are as transparent as we can be with our finances. Another reason is that we feel it is the good, honest, proper and moral thing to do.
The expectation of giving is in place for many reasons.
First and foremost, God calls us to a mindset and intentionality to give. From early on in the book of Genesis, we see that we have been and continue to be commanded to give back a portion of what God has so richly given us. Similarly, at our core and true essence, we should yearn for an outpouring of gratitude, love and joy; and it should come quite naturally to want to give, willingly and freely.
Lastly, we know that when we give we truly are making a difference in the world. We see and witness this on our own personal level, at the church level and on the communal and global levels.
Amidst the other great expectations, there is also an underlying current of two particular themes with giving that I want to highlight and lift up. Within these expectations of worship attendance, personal spiritual growth, acts of Christian service, and now giving, we find two key elements that should be present amongst all four of them: love and joy.
If we are giving for the right reasons and to the right people or places, it should absolutely bring us a certain amount of joy. We know that love and joy often go hand in hand. To truly understand and appreciate the feeling and sense of love, one must be accustomed (or have at least some experience) with the act of giving. And, in doing so, one can genuinely experience what love is intended to be: a selfless act toward someone else without expecting anything in return.
Giving—and giving what has been important and vital to even our own sustainability—has been part of the fabric of the human culture as far back as we can go. Through giving we can become better disciples of God. We can have our hearts and minds transformed by and through the giving process. And we can learn to experience the wonders of both joy and love through the act of consistent, intentional giving. When we give, it should amount to a great deal of both love and joy.
Joy is reason enough for us to love one another. Joy is reason enough to approach each day with a new life and a fresh outlook. Joy is enough of a reason to want to come to worship and share and feel that very same joy in worship. Joy, for me, is a state of both heart and mind, and it provides us with hope, as we found in Christ.
Joy is enough of a reason for us to give back to God what He has already joyfully and lovingly gifted and given to us.