We know it can feel as a sacrifice to hand over “a Jackson” to  the first collection weekly. (For a number of us, anyway.)  That’s why we are encouraging people to consider this $20 gift, simply because it is a sacrifice to do, and one bill set apart not to spend first on something else, for rather, it can be rather seen as a gift to The Lord for use towards His  Body in Christ. (As to those who can give more: bravo! As for those who ought to give less, due to a finance situation, then honestly give what you have gladly–for “the Lord loves a cheerful giver,” as Second Corinthians 9:7 describes. A tithe is a sacrificial gift: that is in its definition. It’s a loving offering. It’s not so much the amount, but the heart and spirit of it. The gift is a dear, meaningful one! A tithe is a gift to thank God.   

In the First Church, as in at Corinth, all saw the part they had to offer in sustaining the local church.  St. Paul advises them: “On the first day of the week [Sunday] each of you should set aside whatever he can afford,” as First Corinthians 16:2 says. Did Corinth have a collection basket in its liturgy? It seems so. ‘Like we have. It’s a co-support effort. 

The book of Malachi is the one must associated with this word of a “tithe” but one can find New Testament ideas of it, too. A “tithe” is a sacrifice given laterally in that neighborly love of 1st Cor.16, and it’s also one given vertically as a manner of a thanksgiving to the Lord. We are to heed Jesus’ words to “love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, body and strength.” Matthew (ch. 22) and Luke’s gospel (ch. 10) has Jesus reaffirm that—yet He also puts it in context of caring for others (horizontal). 

An example of the vertical gift that means much to me is Psalm 118:22 “How can I make a return to the Lord, for all the good He has done for me?…”  King David asks that question; and he was quite blessed by God. He knows that it’s not just the treasure to share with God, but his whole life with it—and it never will truly be enough, but even a tithe is a good gesture of gratitude. 

The good result upon God’s people of Psalm 118’s prayer was an increased attention on the Temple and of the lifestyle of being God’s own vessel, and in Israel’s looking on how to be God’s agent to the world (e.g. –just see how Ps.119 ends). In a New Testament Gospel example, of how people forget to show appreciation, Jesus notices that just one of ten came back to thank Him for a miracle done for them all. He asks: Where are the others? (Are they not to show thanks?) But—Jesus took the tithe. He kept ministering. There were grateful people for God’s action upon them. 

We are doing basic parish things here that cost money at Resurrection. I’d like to believe that a tithing attitude of gratitude can help us all stay connected with The Lord, as well as serve goals of a healthy parish continuing forward. 

Bottom line: The parish takes more than a million dollars to run, as you have handed it to my care to run (or given into my stewardship).

I wrote all the above words once before— almost all of the same ones—when I was transitioning from being your administrator for 15 months to becoming pastor. We had some good financial progress that got this parish out of quite a hole it was in then. I have made cuts and adjustments, but only in line with what was supplied to me to divvy as steward. As a pandemic wanes, I feel like it was a trial for many of us, both personally but also as a parish of people. We have to get fully back on our feet. 

Scripture says it in the Old and New Testaments: “Therefore strengthen your hands and set your shaky knees firmly.” It’s in Isaiah 35:3 and in Hebrews 12:12.  It’s a call from the Word. 

So I see Andrew Jackson as God’s Twenty for many people to see as a reasonable goal, and volunteerism and participation, and personal devotions to God, and helping out with mind and body to others, as His road for a recovery in the situation of now. 

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