Belated happy Aldersgate Day! Did you celebrate with great food and festivity on May 24th? Did you join in a small group on that day as a way to grow in your relationship with Jesus? Ok, if you don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll explain. In Methodist terms, Aldersgate Day remembers the point in John Wesley’s life when he had a “heart strangely-warmed” experience. After years of searching for what he felt he was missing in his life with God, Wesley had an experience with God, which would change his life forever. He realized in that moment and in many successive moments that he was very much loved by God, forgiven of his sins and was called to live a life of faith in all ways.
One of the ways that Wesley’s life was enriched because of this experience was in the use of his money. He taught this, “Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can”. When he spoke of giving all you can he included the discipline of tithing, giving ten percent of what one earns at the least to the work of God. Over a lifetime, he found himself keeping his expenses at a minimum and increasing instead how much he gave away. Tithing is something we are called to do as faithful disciples, just like prayer, scripture reading, worship and service.
Over the next six weeks, you are being invited to practice tithing, giving ten percent of your income to the work of God through the church and in caring for the needs of others. You may even find yourself having a heart-warming experience, as did Wesley only in this way because of your generous expression of love for God through the giving of your money. God promises that you and the church will be blessed because of your faithful response in this way. If you already are giving at least ten percent, for this period of time we invite you to increase your giving by another percent. I am at a level of giving a little more than 11.5% of my gross income to God and have found the Lord of creation to always be faithful, helping me get my priorities in order. I will increase my giving by one percent over the next six weeks as part of this spiritual discipline. God will bless you when you take a step up in giving. Till next time…hjh
“Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?” ― John Wesley