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By Father Chris Harris
Jesus reminds us that ‘where our treasure is, our heart will be also.’ Want a closer relationship with God? Want to feel God’s presence in your life in new and deeper ways? There is probably no more important spiritual practice than giving. Here are some ideas for how you can turn your giving into a spiritual practice that not only supports the mission and ministry of your church home, but can deepen your relationship with God just like worship or prayer.
Believe it or not, prayer is probably the most overlooked step in our giving. Before you make your pledge, stop and ask for God’s guidance in this decision. Hold this question and return to it from time to time as we approach the weekend of November 23 & 24. Consider including it in your daily or weekly prayers as you think about your financial commitment for the coming year.
2. Consider the blessings in your life.
Is your giving joyful or does it come from a place of guilt or obligation? Does thinking about your pledge make you feel good or anxious? One way to nurture a life of joyful giving is to practice daily gratitude: Try beginning each day by thanking God for the many blessings of your life; big and small, seen and unseen.
3. Ask why Christ Church Cranbrook is special to you.
Each of us have come to call Christ Church Cranbrook our spiritual home for different reasons. For some of us, it’s our inclusive welcome or our pastoral care. For others, it’s the beautiful worship and angelic music. For some it’s our commitment to outreach while others are drawn to our commitment to youth and adult formation. And the reasons go on and on. As you consider your pledge, remember that it is only through your annual giving that we are able to offer the programs and ministries that we do. In fact, 60% of our weekly mission and ministry comes from your weekly giving – every pledge counts, every pledge matters!
4. Give from your “First Fruits”.
Do you give ‘what you can afford’, but only after you have spent your income on your priorities? Jesus says “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”, so if you want to make God a priority in your life, try giving from your ‘first fruits’ by giving a percentage of your income. The Christian standard for giving is 10% or a ‘tithe.’ If that feels out of reach compared to what you are accustomed to, try 5% and then see if you can increase it a percentage each year until you are tithing. By giving from what we receive, rather than from what’s left over, we keep God as a priority in our life.