Treasure in Heaven

Jesus said, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

Outside of our annual campaigns, we don’t talk or teach very much specifically about the stewardship of money or giving to the church. That doesn’t mean that money isn’t important to us. Holy Trinity literally lives off of our offerings. This is the income the parish uses to meet its everyday household and business expenses and to provide decently for our rector and his family. Beyond that, tithes and offerings are the fuel that powers the ministry of Holy Trinity here and beyond.

On another level, God cares deeply about our relationship with money, wealth, and possessions. St. Paul writes, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:10 And Jesus said, No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

The love of money is idolatry which destroys the relationship between man and God. One of the best cures is to give some (or a lot) of it away in godly ways to help the dispossessed and the work of the church. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

At this stage of our annual stewardship campaign, we are not seeking offerings. We aren’t even seeking a promise for offerings in the future. Instead, we ask every household to prayerfully make a best guess, good-faith estimate of their 2016 tithes and offerings, and to turn that in on a 2016 Estimated Tithes and Offerings card. Your faithfulness in doing that will bless us more than you can imagine.


(As published as part of Holy Trinity Anglican Church’s 2015 Annual Stewardship Campaign My Cup Overflows, Week 3, 11/22/2015)

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Ask, and it will be given to you

Taking the first fruits and the tithes of my produce and the first shearings, I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar. Of all my produce I would give a tenth to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem; Tobit 1:6b-7a RSV

In the opening lines of the book that bears his name, Tobit describes how he joyfully fulfills the three tithes levied by God upon the people of Israel. This is not his burden, but his identity, and he is happy. Even though he and his people have been carried away by the Assyrians to Nineveh, he enjoys significant prosperity which he ascribes to God’s favor. Tobit has been faithful and God fills his cup to overflowing.

Sadly, bad things happen to good people. Largely due to Tobit’s extreme faithfulness, he become a fugitive and looses everything except for his wife and son. Later, he is able to return to Nineveh safely, but then, after another extreme act of charity, he is blinded. Through all of this, Tobit’s faithfulness does not waver, and God hears his prayers and sends the archangel Raphael to him. It’s a great story so I won’t give away the rest.

Tobit’s life of obedient action and prayer models an important principle we also learn from Jesus.

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 RSV

Ask in humility seeking God’s will. Knock, persevering in prayer, confident the Father will provide what is best according to His sovereign, gracious will. 1

As we each consider next year’s estimated giving to our parish church, it may be far better to dwell upon the example of faithful Tobit, than to be primarily concerned with our parish operating expenses. Current levels of giving are meeting our expenses. However, when we give more, that overflowing generosity will let us do more as a parish for the kingdom of God to reach the lost, and to minister to His people and those in need.

Estimated giving cards are available now in the narthex. The collection of those cards begins next Sunday.


1 Suggested by ESV Study Bible notes.

(As published as part of Holy Trinity Anglican Church’s 2015 Annual Stewardship Campaign My Cup Overflows, Week 2, 11/15/2015)

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My Cup Overflowing

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:5 ESV

Our annual stewardship focus begins this Sunday. In today’s message, I will describe what we will be doing, and then share my thoughts on how Holy Trinity is doing financially. Today and on the next two Sundays you will receive a stewardship message (like this one). Then, on November 22, we will place a small box in the nave by the baptismal font. This is where you may deposit a card upon which you have indicated your estimated tithes and offerings for 2016. We will leave the box in-place for a few weeks to be sure everyone has a chance to participate.

Asking you for your estimated giving is one of the things we do to practice good stewardship of your gifts. It gives us numbers in which we can be confident to prepare a meaningful budget. We believe that your good-faith estimate (not a promise or contract of any kind), rather than our guess, is a better input upon which to build next year’s budget. Last year, an amazing 98 percent of you gave us an estimated giving card for which we are truly grateful.

How are we doing financially? In our eleventh year as a congregation, God continues to bless us with abundance as you have blessed us with your faithful giving. Your actual tithes and offerings (money given towards our regular operations and maintenance) generously continue to exceed 2015 estimated giving, and actual income has been tracking ahead of expenses all year. This blesses us beyond our ability to imagine. Truly, our cup is overflowing (Psalm 23:5). This has made it possible for us to do more and to give more as a parish.

Over the last three years, Holy Trinity significantly increased giving to our diocese with an explicit objective of the vestry to reach the point where our giving to the diocese would be at least a tithe (10 percent). At our June meeting just before the diocesan synod, the vestry voted unanimously to report to the synod that Holy Trinity will give a full tithe of our own tithe and offering income. This year, we have also been able to generously increase our giving to worthy ministries in our community and beyond.

Jesus said, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 ESV

A facsimile of the 2016 Estimated Tithes and Offerings card

(As published as part of Holy Trinity Anglican Church’s 2015 Annual Stewardship Campaign My Cup Overflows, Week 1, 11/08/2015)

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