Colin and I compared notes this week and discovered that, between the two of us, we have received over twenty requests from not-for-profit ministries in the Triangle asking for consideration for 2017 funding from FUMCC. That is twenty more than those already included in the church budget. They all do good work. The community and the world are better because of all of them. They are all worthy. We simply can’t support them all so our Outreach Team has to prioritize and make some hard decisions.
Every day I hesitate to go to the mailbox at home because I know that stuffed in between the Christmas catalogs and the fliers will be the first of the “end of the year” appeals from four colleges, three graduate schools, and a variety of non-profits (including the two that employ our daughters) for funds. They all do good work. They are all worthy. I simply can’t support them all so we have to prioritize and make some hard decisions.
There is one decision that is not hard for us at our house. It is our absolute priority: supporting the ministry of Christ through FUMCC. It is our first line of giving, the first entry each month as the check book is balanced (we make use of the bank draft opportunity), the first decision made in any conversation about “charitable giving.”
And the reason is that supporting Christ’s ministry through FUMCC is not, for us, simply “charitable giving.” It is faithful response to God’s call and claim on us as individuals and as a family to be a part of what God is doing in the world. All that we have has come to us from God. For us, keeping our promise to support “the ministry of the church with our gifts” is merely giving back to God what is already his and being grateful for what God allows us to keep.
Supporting FUMCC at the Frazier house is not giving to a budget that runs a building and maintains an institution. It is being in mission to Cary, to Bosnia, to Bolivia, to Africa, to Appalachia, to the ends of the earth. It is changing lives as people come to know and love God and serve Christ through worship, fellowship, service, and witness. It is being a part of something more than ourselves, something we believe in, something that has changed us that we want to share with others. And, yes, it is keeping a promise that we made and that we are honored to keep.
This Sunday, as we complete our series “A Way of Life,” we will also observe our annual Commitment Sunday. I invite you to join my family in renewing your commitment to the ministry of the church with “your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness.” I invite you to make a visible statement of your intention to be a part of the support of the Christ’s ministry here in 2017. I invite you to consider tithing as a way of life (and growing toward it if you’re not there already). I invite you to make this your priority. I invite you to join the rest of us in our mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ who grow in faith and love through worship, fellowship, service, and witness to one another and the world.”
See you Sunday at the altar.
Grace and peace.