Editorial – Nov 2017

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Gift Day – Sunday November 26th

Our giving to the mission and ministry of the church is part of our discipleship as Christians, and it is something that I believe we as The Rivers Team need to review.

Last year was the first year for a long time when we were unable to honour our commitment to the diocese towards the cost of ministry and also to the missions and charities that we support. This year has seen a slight improvement in our giving but, as it stands, it is still likely to be below what we need to meet all of our basic commitments, let alone to enable us to carry out the maintenance work that is mounting up in our churches, or to enable us to further our mission and ministry as we would like to, such as through opportunities to develop our work with children, young people and families.

There are two ways to get a donkey to move, one is from behind with a stick, the other is from in front with a carrot. Please note – I am not saying the church is a donkey! Whilst the bible uses both of these methods, I would prefer a donkey that was so well trained that it just did what it was supposed to do without stick or carrot, but with a sense of joy at fulfilling its calling! So what should the well-trained donkey be doing?

In the book of Malachi, God uses a stick when he says to the people, “Will a person rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse, your whole nation, because you are robbing me”. But he then switches to a carrot as he continues, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:8-10). Jesus uses a carrot and a stick when he says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38).

We are having a gift day across The Rivers Team on Sunday 26th November, when we are asking everyone to give prayerfully and generously towards our commitments for 2017. We are also asking that you take this as an opportunity to prayerfully review your giving to The Rivers Team for 2018, and to fill out a pledge form accordingly.

It is my prayer that, as individuals and as a church we will see the truth of what Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

David Bent; Team Rector