On Sunday we wrapped up the Financial Freedom series with a message about making wise financial decisions. Andy talked about how our giving (or lack there of) can often be influenced by guilt and/or greed. Even those who are committed to tithing (giving 10% of one's income) can fall into these pits.
For example, tithers can give out of guilt:
* "I know that's what the Bible teaches, so I "have to" obey.
Or they can be greedy even in tithing:
* "I'm giving 10% and not a penny more."
* or "If I invest this money, then God will bless me financially."
Andy encouraged us to move beyond the guilt and the greed, and to be motivated by the GRACE that God has poured out on our lives. When we recognize that God has been so generous to us, it motivates us to give back! When we begin to see our finances through this lens, we can live with great joy and freedom. We are no longer seeking to increase our standard of living, but rather we seek to increase our standard of giving. We can LIVE to GIVE!
Andy urged our church to take a "Giving Challenge". Over the next 90 days we are to take a step toward "Spirit-led giving". At the end of those 90 days, we can reevaluate our lives and our finances and see if God has not blessed us, provided for us, and grown our faith in amazing ways. Andy even issued a guarantee saying that if someone takes this challenge and is not in a better financial situation in 90 days from now, South Bay will return every dollar that they gave!
We had everyone write on their Connection Card if they were accepting the Giving Challenge. 63 of the 220 adults in our services stepped up to the challenge! I am so excited to hear all of the stories that will come out of people taking this step of faith!
FYI- Andy & I also accepted the giving challenge and we are taking our giving to a "whole nutha' level". We sat down last night with our budget and worked out the details. One thing I know for sure: YOU CAN'T OUT GIVE GOD!!!!