As I check in with pastors and other church leaders at the end of 2020, I often hear this phrase when I ask how things are going: “Of course, giving is down.” Let’s unpack that on this penultimate day of a difficult year.
- Of course. We often assume that when things are difficult certain things are destined to happen in response. Of course we are low-energy considering the holidays are over. Of course we are sad because of the pandemic losses. Of course our congregations are responding negatively after ___ happens. Imagine – though – if our sacred assumptions in the throes of loss and pain is that we are overwhelmed with an awareness of our blessings. The tragedies that could have happened, but didn’t. The times cuts healed and aches subsided. The moments we noticed that God is still with us.
- Giving. We have countless opportunities to give something of ourselves every day. A kindness. A smile – even behind a facemask. An encouraging word. A decision to share a portion of our time or money. There is no excuse to refrain from giving as long as we have breath.
- Is down. There is no reason for “down” to be the only direction things are going. We continue to sing Hallelujah – even in hell. We continue to look up to the One whom we call Immanuel. It’s quite possible that what we truly need increases in these days.
For what it’s worth, giving is going up in some of our congregations. Expecting God to help us rise even from death is what we fundamentally believe as followers of Jesus.
May our souls sing “Of course giving is up!” in a variety of ways. Happy New Year!