“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV)
Have you ever looked at your bank account and wondered how you would even make it through the month? Have you ever heard a sermon or announcement about tithing and the generosity of others and thought, “Well, that’s good for them, but there’s no way I can give”? I’ve been there.
I was an adjunct professor for several years. I had a crippling student loan, other bills I had to pay, and a poverty-level paycheck each month. I taught at two schools and also tutored at both just to make more money. I worked 90-100 hours a week and still made almost nothing. It was all too much.
The first day I attended The Cove in 2014, I cried the entire time. God spoke to me in that moment and I knew I had found what I had been looking for. I quit my job. How terrifying is that? I knew that I had to put everything about the situation in God’s hands. He was going to place me exactly where I needed to be—and He did. He gave me an incredible job and work-life balance. The first month I got my paycheck, I immediately started tithing. This wasn’t my money; this was first and foremost God’s money. “’Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” Malachi 3:10 (ESV).
It’s hard to make that initial leap financially. It’s actually terrifying. If you start the month by honoring God first, even with a small financial contribution, God will bless other areas of your life. This happens because we are basing our finances on Him. We are focusing on Him. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV). If you can’t make that financial leap just yet, consider replacing one cup of coffee a month with a financial contribution to the church. God can use your sacrifice of even $5 to help introduce a new friend to Jesus.
We just finished up a series on anxiety and depression. The anxiety of not having enough money or of losing a job causes a lot of us not to tithe. Many of us worry that even if we have enough money today, we won’t have that money tomorrow. But God tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6 (ESV). Tithing and making offerings are one of the best ways you can honor God because you are saying, “I will not worry about this, God. Instead, I am putting my faith in you to take care of me and my family.”
You don’t have to give everything you have to the church, but every gift and sacrifice matters. “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what the person has, not according to what he does not have” 2 Corinthians 8:12 (ESV).
Have you ever had a friend tell you some terrible news and your only response is, “I wish there was something I could do!” There is: be there for them, listen to them, pray with them, and be kind to them in their weak moments. Get them involved in a Life Group or a Care Group at The Cove. Kindness goes a long way in reminding people of God’s grace and love.
When you give financially, God uses it, enabling us to create support all across our community for people in need. The combination of tithing to create resources for the community, serving in that community, and being involved in a Life Group does much more than just change your life; it changes the lives of those around you.
Pray about how this church can be a blessing to the entire community, sharing the love of Christ. Pray that the money that you generously give will be used in a manner that changes lives in a positive way. Just this year alone, over 2000 people have come to faith in Jesus through The Cove. This life change is possible because of the financial contributions each of you makes. We don’t live in a vacuum. We need community. The Cove provides that community and the Good News to those who desperately need it.
By Brittany Cowan Read: James 1:5; Proverbs 11:25; Romans 10:13-15
I’m sure you’ve heard of “random acts of kindness.” Some of you may have experienced one of them or even done them yourself. Although paying for someone’s coffee behind you at McDonald’s may not seem like much, this small act of kindness might come at an important time for that person. They may be struggling with a crisis or having a terrible morning. This little kindness may put a smile on their face and give them hope that today is the day that good things are possible.
Giving to The Cove has much of the same “pay it forward” feel to it. Contributing just a small amount of money, combined with the gifts of other believers, provides the welcome, kindness, and openness someone may desperately need when they walk through the doors of the church. Tithing enables us to respond to the needs of our church family and for people we don’t personally know in the larger community.
God has commissioned us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). How better to love those around you than to provide a support system to thousands? We are commissioned to be generous: “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” 2 Corinthians 9:11 (ESV). Through that generosity, God’s greatness is visible. Let’s show the world what a loving, kind God we have by being a little more like Jesus.
God is so good. I think we sometimes get so caught up in asking Him for things that we forget His goodness. Even in the darkest, saddest pits of despair, God is doing good and working both for us and through us. He has blessed us with air in our lungs and a heartbeat. He has blessed us with salvation and grace that we don’t deserve. He is generous with His love though we have not been very lovable in the past. He does all of this because we are His children. He wants to bless us and for us to use our spiritual gifts to bless others.
If you’ve never “Googled” spiritual gifts, I would encourage you to do so. There is a whole list of gifts that God has freely given His children. You possess at least one of them—and that makes you uniquely equipped to bless others and honor Him. One of those spiritual gifts is giving: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: … the one who contributes, in generosity” Romans 12:6-8 (ESV). God has been generous with us, and now it is our turn to be generous to others.