Being asked to share why Mark and I give, why we’re signing another pledge card this year in the middle of such difficult times, gave us pause. How could we best communicate the importance we feel for giving to Holy Covenant?
There’s a story about a little boy who was crying in bed during a major thunder storm. His mother came into his room and began to comfort him. In doing so, she reminded him that “Jesus was ALWAYS with him so he didn’t need to be afraid.” The little boy looked up at his Mother and said, “Yes Mommy, I know that Jesus is here, but this time I’d like to feel Jesus with skin on.”
We all need that human touch. We need the warmth of someone’s arms assuring us that things will be alright, telling us that, in time, things will be better than they are today. We need to be able to share that touch with others who are in need, as well. For Mark and me, that’s most often realized when we’re privileged to share smiles, shake hands, or embrace members of our church family when we share our joy in that time set aside in each Sunday’s worship to “pass the peace”.
Since coming to Holy Covenant, God has helped Mark and me reach out to others in need. God has also brought us to a community where we know we belong and where we stand shoulder to shoulder with our church family in the many ministries of this community.
That standing ‘shoulder to shoulder’ includes GIVING… Whether that giving is in the form of the biblically prescribed tithe or giving whatever extra we can, it’s something we’ve chosen to do together, as a TEAM, and it comes first before anything else. We’ve learned, in some cases the hard way, that it’s just too easy to let other things eat up the money, erode the cash flow, and short change our abilities to give.
We could stand here and quote the Old Testament scripture in Malachi where God declares:
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test…see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”
We could once again look at scriptures in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul boldly addresses the church at Corinth stating,
“…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.”
But neither of those scriptures really define why Mark and I give. We give because we love you, Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, and we’re committed to our church community’s rally cry to Seek God, Love All People, Change the World.
Jesus is not here in the flesh. Instead he needs each of you, along with Mark and me, to be His hands and feet extended to others. Together, as we present our tithes, love gifts, and offerings, we make it possible for each other and the world around us to “feel Jesus with skin on.”