Transitioning to Lent

Sisters and Brothers,

Welcome February! Time is indeed, moving on.

This month we transition through the ordinary time ‘after Epiphany’ right into Lent which starts on 22nd instant. As happens every so often, MCCA Men’s Day, the Week of Prayer and World Day of Prayer will fall in Lent.

What’s it about Lent that I wish to mention even before we get there? Remember, my invitation over the past two years for us to consider tithing for Lent. “Give one tenth during Lent.”  Well, I’m at it again. Maybe if we practice this during Lent, it might grow on us as we seek to be more effective stewards of the grace we have received from God.

While we are not mandated to tithe, I do remind us that the MCCA has taken a position on tithing. The church’s (MCCA) position on tithing is captured in a position paper posted on the website. Give tithing a try, and note the effect it has, not just on your wallet, but on your life; and then you can decide from there. We may just find that in a season of inflation and increasing economic hardship, we begin to see God’s wonderful transformation of our financial situation. Let us resolve to trust God for this.

So, while tithing is not mandated -no one is compelling us to give one-tenth- we know that God loves a cheerful giver; and so we focus on the New Testament principles for Christian giving which we have already noted in Discipleship Studies. And while these relate to giving in general- stewardship of time, talent and treasure, I emphasise them here in relation to the gift of money earned.

  1. We are called to give as we have received (i.e., giving is not meant to be based on what we hope to get). We are not trying to twist God’s hand as if God owes us any favour. We are simply blessed because God chooses to be generous.
  2. Giving is like sowing seed, i.e., our gifts are multiplied times over in God’s scheme of things. We may never be aware of how grace is channeled through our giving, how many persons benefit from what we give, even some near and dear to us. How true it has often proven that when we cast our bread upon the waters, it returns bearing unexpected fruit.
  3. We reap what we sow. In other words, harvesting is proportionate to our giving. Let us sow generously, not only our time and talent, but also our treasure to the glory of God.
  4. The true measure of Christian giving is not the quantum of the gift but the attitude of the heart. Small wonder Paul taught the Christians at Corinth:
    Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work”.
  5. Christian giving should be regular ad systematic.  This is why Paul uses the word give in the continuous present tense, as if encouraging the people to make it a habit to give.

So, what more can I say? Try it and don’t be surprised if it turns out that you like it, even if it costs you money, because the blessedness of God’s favour grows upon us as we let go of boundaries, even deliberately and systematically giving what we could choose to own!

May the Lord’s richest blessings be ever yours.

In Christ
Joan Delsol Meade