Sharing our Financial Blessings — Making a Financial Pledge
Last year was a very generous year for giving in the United States. We grew in generosity even in the pandemic. Yet, a recent study found that the median protestant (person in the middle if lined up smallest percentage to largest) only gives 0.62% of their income to the church.
For most people the reason for this has less to do with their wealth or income and more to do with intentionality and regular systematic giving.
Over the course of a year, $1 per day comes to a gift of $365, which for about 35-40% of Americans would be significant growth in their giving to the church. A typical Starbucks coffee costs $2.75. This amounts to over $1,000 if one is purchased every day of the year.
Regular, systematic giving can help all of us become more generous. We get overwhelmed when we think about larger numbers, like increasing by $1,000. However, most of us can find $2.75 per day.
Pledging can help you to become more systematic, more intentional.
In 2022, on average Saint Matthew members who pledge give about $60 per week. Those who give regularly without pledging give about $22 per week. Prayerfully consider how God has blessed you, consider how you can share those blessings generously, and then make a pledge for supporting our missions in 2023.
As you think and pray about your generosity this year. Consider how systematic giving through pledging may help you become more generous.
Decide to Give sacrificially
Little has ever been accomplished without sacrifice. This is true in our homes, our work, our church, our country. Sacrifice is a necessary component of successful living.
And so it is with the Christian life and faith. Our salvation cost God the cross. Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer rightly said there is no cheap grace.
Much of church giving is only token giving, averaging about two percent of income. No wonder there is so little joy or satisfaction in it! It requires no sacrifice! We have given only what we could easily afford, what we would not really miss.
Experience has shown that giving, to be meaningful and joyful, has to be sacrificial! Each will have to determine what amount or percentage is sacrificial for his or her circumstances. But experience again suggests that for most people sacrificial giving begins at five percent of income with proportions under five percent falling into the token giving category.
Church interest is often low, studies have shown, because investment is low. There is no sacrifice. It doesn’t really cost anything. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” (Luke 12:34) Where is my treasure? That is where you will find your heart.