Dear Church of the Redeemer,
The Apostle Paul writes that No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit. We have not come to salvation in Jesus Christ apart from the Holy Spirit’s gracious work. Similarly, none of us can live a Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit and grace. He brings us to salvation and sustains us in eternal life—inspiring and empowering us to faithful obedience to Jesus our Lord.
The Christian life is lived in submission to God—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This means we are not our own bosses. We have come to acknowledge that we belong to the Lord who is the only God. It is his prerogative to command and our duty to obey.
In the reality of our Christian lives, Jesus gives us much freedom. This freedom is based on his promise that his sheep will hear his voice and follow him willingly into green pastures. He didn’t give us a set of rules but himself to follow.
When it comes to our giving to the church where God places us, the Old Testament guides us to give 10% (tithe) of our income to God’s ministry plus additional offerings, as he leads us. I believe this continues as a standard for the New Testament church.
As I consider tithing to the church, I’m reminded of the confidence with which Paul writes to his friend Philemon regarding the returning slave Onesimus. Paul writes,
So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it–to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. (Philemon 1:17-21)
I think this Scripture reflects Jesus’ attitude towards us regarding our worship, service and giving. We owe him our very selves. Let’s refresh the heart of the Lord by doing “even more” than the minimum in terms of all of the above. If Paul promises to repay the generosity of Philemon, how much more will Jesus, in his gracious kindness, honor our giving and service to him? In fact, Paul cites another promise in his letter to the church in Philippi that My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Place your treasure and your heart with God by obediently supporting the church in submission to him as your Lord.
Please follow the Lord’s guidance in Scripture and prayer, as he leads you to give. My family will be doing the same. The pledge cards help the church manage the budget and provide accountability for those who pledge.
Fr. Craig Stephans–Rector
Please place pledge cards in the offering basket, the metal box in the Volunteers’ Office at church or mail them to Church of the Redeemer—Attention: Treasurer, 207 Hwy 343 South, Camden, NC 27921