“It’s the economy, stupid.” This was the message that it is claimed, won Bill Clinton the 1992 US presidential election. The phrase was intended to keep the campaign focused on the cost of living crisis faced by American working people. The point, apparently, was not to validate unregulated free range capitalism but to express the need for government to represent and remember the whole population and especially those who were struggling to make ends meet.
The message of money and the investment of resources in “Kingdom-omics” is one that Christians in general, and preachers in particular run shy of. In British culture, personal finances are, well, personal, and private. Consequently, our purses, wallets and bank accounts are often the last places we surrender to God.
Paul spent around 5 years of his apostolic ministry raising and deploying resources from the gentile based churches to the mother church in Jerusalem and Judea which was facing particular financial challenges.
In 2 Corinthians 8,9 Paul promotes a culture of generosity grounded upon the fathomless riches of God.
2 Corinthians 8:7
Since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love, we have kindled in you see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Paul sees himself as a catalyst creating a circular economy where physical resources and spiritual gifts flow back and forth to the benefit of all the churches. He declares God’s grace as the source of the motivation for giving, not campaigns or compulsion. This power of grace provokes a response, it invites relationship and connection. So Paul’s collection cemented connections for the gospel. Giving for Paul was a joined-up strategy that brought all the resources of the churches together for Kingdom enterprise. Money made mission happen.
So, giving is not an option for Christian believers. It is our response to the grace of God and our contribution to his purposes. So setting aside a regular proportion of our income is a powerful spiritual practice that can break the power and fear of money and release resources for Christ.
It’s vital that we each give to the Christian community to which we belong. For most of us that is QPBC so let me give you a little update.
Our QPBC 2023 budget just launched in April: here’s the basic picture
The good news is that we expect to have a bit left over this year but the challenge remains that as we build things up after the pandemic and as costs rise we expect a small deficit next year. Now we’d love to reinstate support for national and international projects which we dropped as our income fell in the last couple of years but this would require an even more ambitious increase than what we are asking at this point. Our first step is to hit our targets for this basic budget and that means we all need to review our giving to QPBC.
Many of us give really sacrificially and we are so grateful for that but it may be helpful to break down what this increase looks like to see what it looks like personally.
Simply stated we need about 120 people to increase monthly giving by £5 or more per month (our finance team say that’s two Costa coffees!)
And 12 new people to give £100 or more per month.
There is other giving which can make a massive difference too. So a special shout out to our amazing cleaning teams who are saving us massively and enabling the Point to be used to generate income. I am pretty sure that Paul would have liked that!
So let’s not neglect this vital expression of our worship and discipleship and excel in the grace of giving.