The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who
sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up
your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God
is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough
of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.
--2 Corinthians 9:6-9 NRSV
A major effort in my spiritual journey has become learning to trust in God’s abundance. We are bombarded in our culture by messages that declare what we have is not enough. Unless one is living without a stable source of the essentials of life—shelter, food, medical care, etc., then what one has is enough, no matter what the advertisements say.
It is so easy to fall into a mind trap of living as if you do not have enough. For me, the loop can run nonstop playing the same songs of anxiety regarding saving enough for retirement, having enough for my kid’s educations, making enough for vacations with the family, etc. If I’m not careful, these fears turn into messages of “I am not enough.” I don’t make as much money as friends and acquaintances. I’m not as successful as I should be. I don’t possess enough of the things that prove I amount to something that matters. The tricks of scarcity-thinking lead nowhere but to jealousy, dissatisfaction with life and misery.
Trusting that as a middle class American I have enough—really, more than enough—seems, well, un-American. Yet, God promises that there is enough, and when there is not enough, it is because somebody who has more than they need is not on board with God’s abundance. It’s that simple.
In these days of declining church budgets and slowing church attendance, I have often been asked, “Why does our church give its money away, when there are so many needs within our congregation?” My answer is that there is more than enough money among the people of the congregation to meet its own needs and give to needs outside the church. If the budget doesn’t reveal that, then we haven’t done a good enough job of talking about God’s abundance.
Park Hill Christian Church remains an exceptional church when it comes to its Outreach giving. You are exceptional, because you are a church that gives 10% of your budget to needs outside of this congregation. Why 10%? Well, there are Bible verses that are often used to justify a “tithe” of 10%. I’ve never found them convincing. Instead, I think 10% is a nice number for any church, family or individual who claims the name Christian to shoot for. It’s enough that for most people it’s a sacrifice, but it should be only a starting point for a life filled with generosity. PHCC deserves credit for giving 10% to other groups—that’s more than most churches these days, but 10% should be a starting point not an end goal.
I asked Outreach chairperson Rob Robinson to fill me in on the Outreach of PHCC, because it is important during this time of COVID-19 to remember that our church’s giving is still going on. Here is some of what he shared:
World Outreach--We send half our tithe (5%) of pledged and non-pledged income to support Disciples Mission Fund (DMF) which supports Christian Church, Disciples of Christ ministries around the world. Monthly gifts are $800 to $1,400 on average.
Local Outreach-- the other 5% of our pledged and non-pledged income goes to three local organizations.
In addition to these financial gifts, PHCC members volunteer weekly with Hillcrest Ministries, SPEAC food pantry and other organizations. Of course, CWF groups hold other collections and drives throughout the year (see the current school supply drive led by Deborah Group in this newsletter), and there are many other organizations PHCC has supported over the years.
Rob’s report went into greater depth than my highlights, but they are enough to remind us of the good we are doing at PHCC. Giving to groups outside the congregation reminds us that PHCC is a part of the community around us rather than an island unto ourselves. The pandemic has shown us the needs in our area are much greater than we ever realized, so now is not the time to hold off giving what we have out of a fear of scarcity. Now is the time to trust God’s abundance more than ever and give freely out of what we have more than enough of to those in need.
When Paul raised money for fellow Christians living through a famine, he wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 9: God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. Trust in God’s abundance. Trust that you have enough, more than enough. Believe that you are enough as you are right now, and accumulating more stuff is not the answer to any feelings of inadequacy you may have. Live freely knowing God has already created you as good, and more money, more stuff has not and never will prove your worth.
When we start to live out of the truth of God’s abundance instead of our culture’s lies of never having enough and never being enough, we understand the freedom and blessings that come in sharing “abundantly in every good work.”
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Chase Peeples
6601 Northwest 72nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64151 | 816-741-1851