Membership Vows Series - Gifts
How intentional are you in giving to the church?
When was the last time you increased your giving to the church without being asked to?
How has your faith influenced your giving? How has your giving influenced your faith?
Do you feel like God is calling you to give more? Why or why not?
As a member of HPUMC, we promise the church our: prayer, presence, gifts, service and witness.
What does it mean to give a gift? Often we give gifts on an occasion, like a birthday or Christmas, but we can also give gifts for no particular reason. The definition of a gift is that it is something given freely, without expecting anything in return. A gift is not payment or compensation, nor should it be something expected, demanded, or required. A gift is simply an expression of gratitude, thoughtfulness, or the love we have for someone else, and it is often a way to show that we have a relationship with that person. For example, if we are celebrating a friend’s birthday, giving a gift is a way of expressing the love and joy we experience in that friendship. That we would take the time to select, purchase, or prepare something for someone else is a way of showing how we value them and the relationship we have with them.
Throughout scripture we see many references to giving gifts between individuals, communities, and most of all, between people and God. For the Israelites, to offer a gift to God was a way of showing their gratitude, honor, and love for God. For them, and for us today, giving gifts to honor God is a natural result of a relationship to God. Because of who God is (our creator and savior who loves, sustains, provides and cares for us), and because of our relationship to God, why wouldn’t we want to show our love and gratitude to God?
So how do we do this? How do we give gifts to God? As United Methodists, we believe that giving financially to the church is giving to God. The church is sustained by God to be the body of Christ: a community, a place to worship God, and a movement to live out and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Therefore, supporting the church with our financial gifts is a privilege and response to the love of God in our lives. It is a sign of our commitment to the body of Christ and to the work of the church in our community and the world. Giving gifts is an act of worshipping God, and of recognizing that our relationship with God is the most important thing in the world. It does not matter how much we give, but it does matter that we give generously, thoughtfully, intentionally, and sacrificially to the work of God through the church. When we give like that, we are expressing our love for God, we are rejoicing in our relationship with God, and we are helping the church move continually towards its mission of sharing Christ’s saving love and grace with everyone.