As pastors we often feel the pressure of making sure our lives are in accordance to the words that we preach on Sundays. This is a good thing but at times can be overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but I constantly feel inadequate to preach when I know my own shortcomings. Praise God that our righteousness has been established by Someone else! While we rest in the finished work of Christ, there is a healthy burden we should feel for leading the way for our congregation in obedience to the Word of God. They should be able to look at our lives and we should be able to say the words of Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
I want to encourage you to set the bar for your congregation in an area that we don’t often talk about when speaking about the lives of pastors. I want to speak to you about generosity. On a weekly basis, our people listen to a short plea before we take up the offering to generously give towards the work and ministry of the church. I wonder what they see out of our own lives? Are we known for our generosity? Are we seen as a person to imitate when it comes to how we generously give of our own money? Are we being faithful to do the same things we’re asking our people to do?
Generosity is simply a response to the extravagant grace that we have been given in Christ. To live with generosity means that I have a correct perspective towards my life, my salvation, and my possessions. To live in greed is to live without gratitude. Every person, including pastors, will have to wage war against the flesh as it relates to greed. How do you get out of greed? At least in part, you give out of greed.
I recently preached Luke 21:1-4 on the sacrificial giving of the widow in this passage. At the end of my message, I gave our church a plan for sacrificial giving. I pray that it encourages and challenges you as a pastor on your own journey of generosity.
Plan for Sacrificial Giving
1. Start with the tithe to your church
“Tithing is a minimum standard for Christian believers. We certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position of giving away less of our income than those who had so much less of an understanding of what God did to save them.” Tim Keller (Counterfeit Gods, pg. 62)
2. Give regularly as you prosper
“On the first day of the week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2
3. Grow in giving
Each year, ask yourself, “How can I grow in generosity this year?”
4. Always err on the side of generosity
5. Follow the Holy Spirit
Will we trust the leading of the Spirit as it relates to radical generosity?