Generosity - Reflections - 11-9-16

 Gloria Dei’s Texts for 
 Sunday, November 13, 2016
 Stewardship Sunday

 Gloria Dei stepped out of the lectionary flow this Sunday to consider God’s call to share what has been given to us.

 1 Chronicles 29:10-14
 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, 9:1-8
 Luke 21:1-4

Have you ever read any of those interesting studies on how much money Americans give in relation to their income? Americans give, on average, about 3 percent of their income to charity, a figure that has not budged significantly for decades. But to get to that average, poor and middle class Americans dig deeper into their wallets to give to charity and Americans who earn more, give proportionally less*. In my zip code, people earning less than $25000 gave 4.32% of their income while people in my income bracket gave 1.93%. Those same income levels for 52245 (Gloria Dei) give 7.32% and 2.83%. (2012 numbers)

Both Jesus and Paul show in today’s readings that this is not news. And I’m guessing that most of us know someone whose generosity inspires like the woman at the temple or the Macedonians

And I must admit, I squirm a bit when I read the stories or hear about extraordinary giving. I tend to give out of my abundance.  When I inherited some money (abundance), I used the opportunity to send significant gifts to several of the organizations whose work I support. Since then, to their disappointment and mine, I not only backed off the amount I give, but the proportion I give. I have found that setting up automatic withdrawals from my bank account helps me at least give regularly.

But I definitely need to work on letting go. As Dickens said about Scrooge, I tend to be a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner…. ok that might be hyperbole. But no one would call me generous and open handed.  

What if I run out? What if I can’t pay for something I need? What if I have to do without? What if...?

So, one of the good things about being a part of a faith community is that I can’t really sweep under the rug my tendency of being a scrooge. Each year the church challenges member to think about what they contribute to the ministry’s budget. I have to wrestle with stories like these; I pray to grow in my ability to give. 

Oh, and that first reading from Chronicles? That one reminds us from where everything we grasp so tightly comes. And that maybe we don’t have to worry so much about giving it away.

How about you? Are you a generous person?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

More on these texts in the G.I.F.T. post for Sunday November 13.

*1/13/15 update from Chronicle of Philanthropy 

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245