This past year has been tough for many organizations who get by on donations. A lot of people have lost their jobs, or have less disposable income this year. Consequently "over and above" giving has suffered across the board. Our church is part of Tampa Bay Presbytery, and - collectively - we support a lot of projects too big for any one congregation to handle alone. There's a tremendous "trickle-down" effect that comes into play when large numbers of churches reduce their giving.
Our church - BIG SURPRISE! - has not cut back on mission giving. Quite the opposite; we're always looking for creative ways to give more; and that's what Saturday's auction was all about.
Unlike a "garage-sale", the auction looks for donations of really, really nice stuff for other people to then buy back. Items like a handmade wooden glider, for example; a weekend stay at someone's beach house or mountain retreat; a set of my books (!), valuable art, jewelry etc.
One really interesting lot up for grabs was an original, mint-condition, "flapper" dress from the roaring twenties. This "hot" item was modeled by the church's senior pastor and it made quite a splash.
Consequently, over $7,000 was raised for CedarKirk Camp and Conference center. It doesn't sound like a lot, but the idea is that we do what we can as a small faith community and then others do what they can - and it all adds up.
Here's the kicker: generosity always costs something; sacrificial giving doesn't get its power through being easy; if we only gave out of our surplus then we wouldn't really be giving of ourselves, and we wouldn't get in touch with any of the deep principles that come into play.
Everyone who participated in Saturday's event went away spiritually nurtured. Sure, it benefited the ministry of the camp and conference center. But, more importantly, the event connected those who gave of their time and their resources to a penetrating truth that more of us must own: "Giving is foundational to spiritual growth."
- Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.- Matthew 6