By Tabitha Caplinger
“Happiness is not made by what we own. It is what we share.” —Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Scripture tells us it’s better to give than to receive. That often sounds good on paper and in lofty spiritual platitudes, but when it comes down to writing that check, it’s more difficult. (It’s okay, you can admit it. You aren’t alone.) Giving isn’t just about letting go of time or money or resources. It’s about letting go of control. It’s about trusting, often in what we can’t see. The act of giving can be strenuous and even painful…at first. But then something happens.
“It is the heart that does the giving; the fingers only let go.” —Nigerian proverb
The moment we let go, we realize it isn’t as scary or painful as we had thought or felt. In letting go, in trusting, we find a different kind of blessing. We find a grace and a gratitude that seeps into our skin and feels a lot like joy. Letting go – giving – reminds us how blessed we already were but may have forgotten. We can’t always see through our own need to find the provision of God. But when we give, His provision is put on glorious display in us…and through us.
“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Last fall, we took time as a church to talk about The Blessed Life. We want to be a people who give cheerfully, our first fruits to God, and then out of a heart of generosity to others. We don’t want to hold so tightly to what we view as ours that we forget it is all a gift from God, and when we give we are most like Him. The world is full of need and we can be the hands and feet of Jesus, doing what we can to help meet those needs.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” —Mother Teresa
As a church, some audacious generosity has happened! In the final week of The Blessed Life series last November, Pastor Josh invited us all to participate in a Giving Hope offering on Christmas Eve. Through Giving Hope this year, we plan to help build a new clinic in El Salvador, build three houses for widows in Guatemala, dig a well for a village in Brazil, and continue to support missionaries here and around the world. The Giving Hope goal for 2020 is to give away $95,000 to these projects, and as of Christmas Eve 2019, we (the Faith Community Church family) have given $43,802.39. (You should happy dance for that!)
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. In 2019, through Giving Hope and various outreaches like Peace by Piece, we gave $270, 900 to serve people. $10,594.25 went to missions just from Mission Coffee alone. That’s because of you, yes you (and your love of a good latte.) Because you chose generosity. Because you let go and trusted God to make your little much. People in our city, country and around the world have been touched by your heart. How cool is that?! (Happy dance again, you know you want too.)
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” —Winston Churchill
Generosity isn’t a sermon series or a Christmas Eve offering. It’s a heart-choice, one we have seen made over and over again. It’s important to celebrate the amazing generosity of our church (all of us together), not to pat ourselves on the back, but to remind us of the joy of God’s provision! He is so much bigger than you and I and our church, and we have the honor of being part of what He is doing near and far, in the global Church. That is something to be grateful for, maybe even dance-worthy!