Noel and I are reading through 2 Corinthians together in our family devotions, and there Paul reminds the Corinthians about the need to be generous and the blessings that come with generosity.
Christian generosity flows from an understanding of the Gospel, the story of God's generosity to us. A "stingy Christian" is an oxymoron, or at least it's a contradiction and an inconsistency. God has given us an unspeakable gift in Christ. The more you and I understand that, the more we are, or should be, willing to give sacrificially to others around us. In the Corinthian context, that meant giving to the servants of God and the cause of God in the establishing and maintaining of local church families.
As we come to the end of the year 2017, we are blessed and encouraged to look back on another year of generosity among the membership of NRBC. At each year's end, when the leadership sets the budget for the following year, we pray that God would give us keen insight and wisdom into how much income we should budget from our weekly offerings. We trust that God has led us when we finally present to you that budget at the annual business meeting. And we trust that the Spirit of God is making his will known when the congregational confirms the direction that we as leaders are providing when the majority of you (most often it's unanimous!) vote to proceed into the near year with those hopes. We really believe that God has led us to function based on what we have decided our budgeted income will be.
At the end of 2016, we began the year long process of trusting God to provide a certain amount of income through weekly giving. I'm so thankful that a $9,000 offering on Sunday, December 31, would bring us to that number. This means a couple of things. First, God has led us. Second, he has been faithful. Third, you have been generous.
Thanks in advance for giving week in and week out. Regardless of how much our offering is on Sunday, your sacrificial generosity has put us in the position of being nearly on budget for the year. As a pastor, I am thankful to both God and to you. First for his unspeakable gift of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:16), and for a church family who seems to be learning more of just how generous God is to us.