Stewardship in Perspective and Percentage

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Percentage.jpg” alt=”” width=”682″ height=”247″ /> Each year, Christ Presbyterian Church shares the above chart with it’s members and friends. It is intended to help us gain perspective on our individual weekly giving. (Yes, I know that some give monthly or on another cycle.) A few things strike me each year when this chart is dragged out.

One thing that I find interesting is that in our unique area, the chart that is on many store-bought cards doesn’t go high enough. The median income of Fairfax county families is $122,189. Many cards don’t even go high enough for this average. This of course is not everyone’s experience of their income. Even in our congregation, we most likely have friends who are on the various extremes of the chart above. This also reflects on our local cost of living. Nevertheless, I believe that we live in an area that is highly blessed and, dare we say, financially prosperous.

Secondly, I’m always amazed at how seemingly little the amounts are when looked at with some perspective. Take the $100,000 income mark. A thither who is giving 10% would be giving $192 a week. This seems like a lot, especially when I compare this to the reality of my own giving and my rough understanding of our congregational averages. Yet, with a bit of perspective this figure isn’t so much. If we consider how much each of us spends on average for items like, coffee, dining out and other “non-essential” purchases, it’s not so much. When Sheila, Colin and I go out to your typical causal dining restaurant, we will average $40—$50 for our meal with gratuity. Frankly, we really don’t think much of that expense. I venture to guess that many of us share a similar pattern and attitude towards such a financial expense.

Yet, many struggle with elevating our giving to the tithe. I don’t want to appear as a hypocrite. My family struggles with the reality of giving as well. Both Sheila and I have seen ourselves in times of financial struggle and that often causes us to want to hold tightly to our money. Yet, I have also experienced the blessing of taking a step up. Each year my family has made a commitment to increase our giving. This may be only by five or ten dollars but it has been an increase and it has been spiritually enriching.

This year as you pray and seek God’s guidance for your financial stewardship commitment, please consider these questions of discernment.

  • In the uncertainty of our nations’ financial situation, how have you been blessed?
  • Where does your financial commitment truly come into focus when compared to the chart?
  • Is God calling you to increase your commitment, even by a percentage point?