As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step”. There is a first step towards the goal we want to reach.
A) Step One: PRAY – The first step to anything in our lives should be to ask God what He wants us to do. In order for us to get clear direction from God, the first place we ought to look at is His Word, not our culture or even our circumstance. Listen to what Paul told the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 16:2a(NCV) On the first day of every week, each one of you should put aside money as you have been blessed or a portion of the money you have earned. (NLT)
The Bible is clear that our:
- Giving should be habitual – On the first day of every week…
- Giving is for everyone – …each one of you…
- Giving should be prayerfully planned – …should put aside money…
- Giving should be in proportion to what we have earned or been blessed with – as you have been blessed.
In other words our giving is carefully and prayerfully planned, not coerced or forced, not flippant or last-minute. Our gifts are not necessarily the same, but the measure of our sacrifice is. We all have a part to play. Therefore, we don’t discount any amount, but our giving flows from a willing, obedient and joyful heart.
For some, you need to start at the beginning and that is to trust God by starting to tithe, which represents 10% of your income – Malachi 3:10(NCV) Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn so there will be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord All-Powerful. “I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need.”
Obedience the Bible says is better than sacrifice, and if you are not obeying God in the first place no amount of sacrifice can replace your responsibility to obey God’s Word. Our encouragement to you is to start trusting God by being obedient, and honor Him in your giving by bringing your full tithe to His house.
B) Step Two: PLAN – The next thing to do is to plan. Our planning is based on what we believe God is telling us to do. Understanding that this will look different to each and every one of us.
What represents a sacrifice for you? – What changes do you need to make in order to invest in God’s Kingdom? How can you contribute in order to make a difference? Sometimes we have a desire to do something but we don’t know how to do it. So let’s look at some “how to’s”.
- Decrease – By decreasing a weekly expense, or limiting it, you can contribute a significant amount over the next 36 months.
Examples: Cut down on your trips to Starbucks, or eating out.
- Delay – By delaying a major purchase or something that involves a financial commitment. Prayerfully consider delaying these plans and use those resources to contribute to the “ONE” campaign.
Examples: Delaying that remodel or purchase of a new vehicle, taking that grand vacation later.
- Dig – Dig for better deals. Maybe shop for a better deal on your insurance or a monthly service that is being provided to you. That effort and sacrifice could make a big difference in the life of someone that needs to be reached.
Examples: Cancelling a subscription you barely use, or getting a better rate from a service provider. Paying off a monthly bill and giving that amount to the “ONE” campaign.
- Donate – Another way you could plan your giving; is by giving an asset to the church and letting the church sell it. That eliminates potential capital gains taxes and can increase the after-tax proceeds. Donate that second car that is not being used, or that boat or motorcycle.
Examples: Donate stocks, real estate, bonds, assets, etc.
C) Step Three: PREPARE – Our “ONE” campaign is not based on equal giving, but on equal sacrifice. Not all of our gifts will be the same amount but all of our gifts will represent a sacrifice that is meaningful in proportion to our resources and our faith in God. This, above all, is a faith journey and a spiritual growth process. Your 36-month giving commitment and pledge will represent the sacrifice that God has spoken to your heart.
D) Step Four: PURSUE
Create a personal giving plan, over and above your tithes and offering for the next 36-months based on what you feel God has spoken to your heart. It is a financial gift, but is given for a spiritual purpose to grow and expand God’s Kingdom in our Temecula Valley.