When it comes to money, we often have to tread carefully in our society, on the one hand there seems to be so much available, but on the other – especially as the “credit crunch” starts to bite, too little. However, money is central to our commitment to Jesus Christ simply because how we respond to it reflects our understanding of God’s grace. We believe that Christian giving opens us up to an adventure as we allow God to renew our heart and change our life by focusing it and us on the gospel hope which motivates us to live for His glory and to care for others.
A Right Perspective
If you want to see something clearly then you need to be wearing the right pair of glasses, at St. Andrew's and St. Michael's we believe that the only way to understand any aspect of life is to look at it through the lens of the gospel, that means that our everyday life is shaped not just by a set of rules from the Bible, but more wonderfully in response to God’s amazing grace showered upon us through the Gospel – the good news of Jesus. Our Christian giving therefore is done not because we are obliged to do it, but as an act of gratitude and love to Jesus.
“The giving that sets us free comes from gratitude and thankfulness, from knowing that all we have is a gift from God. That is why Paul appealed to the church in Corinth to 'excel in this grace of giving' (2 Cor 8: 9). The word 'grace' is deliberate because it roots our giving in what God has done for us. In fact Paul in two whole chapters on giving never once uses the word 'money', just grace.
Generous planned giving also sets out churches free from worrying about money. Churches need money so that ministry and mission can happen and the largest part is from planned giving in the congregation. If we want people to give generously we must show that giving changes lives. There is more at stake than paying bills and maintaining buildings.” (www.stewardship.org.uk)
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul discusses the impact the gospel should have on the way Christians understand wealth when he says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
This verse means that Christ’s love for us was sacrificial – he gave something, in his case, everything, up for us because he loves us. If we accept that wonderful truth then we can begin to develop a healthy attitude toward our material possessions as well as become people who are both generous and joyful.
Understanding the riches we have already received in Christ not only liberates us from excessive concern over our wealth, talents, and time, but also motivates us to invest them in the eternal kingdom of God.
Being Good Stewards
We believe that we are called by God to be good stewards because a steward is a person who has been entrusted with another's resources, and is someone who seeks to manage those resources according to the owner's vision and values.
Nothing we have truly belongs to us – this amazing planet and all that is on it was tended by others before us and will be inhabited by those who follow us. All that we have acquired has come from God and will slip through our fingers as we loosen our eventual grip on life. The big question is, “What will we do with what God has given us whilst we are here?”
In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income to the support of the ministry and the needs of the poor. The New Testament teaches that we should give as we are "able and even beyond [our] ability" (2 Corinthians 8:3), so therefore, the tithe (10%) is seen as a minimum guideline for giving.
How Much Should I Give?
One of the first questions that you might ask is, “Do I give 10% of my gross income or my net income?” Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to "honour the LORD with [our] wealth, with the first fruits of all [our] crops." And Scripture in general teaches that we are to give back to God our "first fruits" (Exodus 23:16 and 19). Giving “first fruits” in Old Testament times meant giving the first and the best of the crop, not waiting to see what was left over. Perhaps this concept helps us to get things in perspective. God is our LORD, our King – we are his citizens first and foremost, saved and redeemed by his hand. Knowing this means that we should prayerfully consider our giving in the light of our relationship with him rather than trying to search for the easiest option in giving.
For many people, giving a larger part of their financial resources without reneging on legal and personal obligations will take good planning over time, we simply won’t be able to give 10% of our income immediately and trying to do so would be reckless. It is important that we should all recognize that there are seasons to economic life and not be irresponsible towards others in our giving to God. We must ensure that we honour our debts, as well as our economic responsibilities to our families. The key is to make sure you are giving what you can to honour and support the work of God's Kingdom.
Should You Give All Your Tithe (Or Equivalent) To Either St. Andrew's or St. Michael's?
Your gift is an act of personal worship to God in response to his grace in your life. How you allocate your time and your money to God's service should come through prayer and talking to your family as well as others to whom you are financially accountable. However, if you consider one of the five churches in our Partnership to be your "home church," you might consider allocating a significant portion of your tithe and offering to the community where you invest most of your time, and where others are investing in you.
If you would like to give to Christian Charities but aren’t sure where to start then here are some of the Christian Agencies Churches in Alwalton and Chesterton give To:
The Leprosy Mission
"Stewardship" are an organisation who exist "to equip the Church by:
Transforming Christian giving
Raising the standard in church/charity legal and financial administration
Sharing knowledge and connecting people and resources to advance the Kingdom of God."
Some of their excellent documents to help with budgeting are attached to bottom of this page and you can click on the logo below to visit their website.
Click on the shield to visit Ely Diocesan stewardship page.
“Unless our money gift has cost us something, it is not really a thanksgiving but more like a tip. And one of the tensions in our discipleship lies in whether we live our life and give to God the odd crumb, or whether we give to God first, and then manage the rest. If the Christian disciple does the first, he will never be satisfied: If he does the second, he will always have enough.” (www.cofe.anglican.org)
Budget with debts chart
Full budget chart
Money saving tips
Work out your giving chart