Monday, December 3, 2012

A Passion to Give

I’m finally getting around to writing the last installment of my Discipleship Series ending, of course, with pledges toward the 2013 mission and ministry budget of the church. We United Methodists define discipleship as uphold the church and each other with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. This is about gifts and giving. It’s appropriate, I guess, that I write about giving in this season of Advent/Christmas. More people give during this time of year than any other. During this season, even the hardest heart is softened to share and give to others who need. Our angel tree which bears cards for children’s gifts for Christmas is already empty. We are gathering supplies to make flood buckets for those affected by hurricane Sandy; others have already given money to this. Last week, our parking lot was full of people lined up to register for Goodfellows, which gives gifts of food to needy families. Monies are raised every year for this from the community of Spartanburg. Christians are by nature giving people. They give in many ways. They give their time, talents, and money to support the work of God’s kingdom. And, every year just before Thanksgiving we appeal to each other to pledge to the mission of the church for another year. This year as we approached giving and pledging toward the church’s budget, I said that I am not a fundraiser. When God called me to preach, he didn’t say anything about raising money. He never said anything to me about this time of year. All I heard was: “Follow me and preach the Gospel.” My calling is to preach the Gospel and then I rely on God and my congregation to do the rest. My wife and I give; we tithe. We lead by example. I don’t know what anybody gives to the church unless they want me to know. Some are not concerned about my knowing and will share it with me. I am grateful. However, if you don’t tell me, I don’t know. I could. As Senior pastor, I have every right to know, but I elect not to know. Charlie Graves, a former Senior pastor, whom I buried recently, had a great impact on Bethel and the Spartanburg community. He once said that he didn’t want to know so that he wouldn’t be tempted to treat people differently. I feel the same way. What I expect is that every family will contribute something. I expect that every family will pledge. Giving all of our resources together we do, In Christ’s name, an extraordinary ministry here. The downside of not knowing is that some people communicate their feelings with their money. If someone withholds their giving, I don’t know it, unless they tell me. So, someone can stop giving and I would never know. My hope is that each person gives out of their love for Christ and his church. My hope is that they give as a response to what God has done and is doing in their lives. Now, if someone is waiting on the perfect church to give to, good luck. Giving is a reflection of my faith, and God promises to bless us if we give him something to work with? What are you giving God to work with? It is an exciting thing to see what God will do with five loaves and two fish. Blessings! Dave Nichols

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Welcome

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
Blessings!
Dave

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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