My Gifts

 

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Almighty God,

You gave us your commandments and asked us to live according to your holy will.

As part of your design for honorable living, we participate in this simple act of giving.

We dedicate ourselves to living lives of honesty and peace.

Amen.

 

A stewardship prayer, from the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church

 

 

Faithful and Wise Stewards

 

If the rich should ask, “Then what should we do with our wealth? Throw it away into the sea?”  It would be better than how they are now throwing it away, either into a bank for your future comforts or into folly and luxuries for your present pleasures.  If you do not spend your wealth in doing good for others, you spend it to the hurt of yourself.  Spending on ourselves creates unreasonable desires, nourishes ill tempers, indulges foolish passions, and supports a vanity of mind.  All these things are contrary to that sobriety and piety of heart that seek divine things.  So money spent on ourselves is not merely wasted or lost; it is spent to bad purposes and miserable effects to the corruption of our heart, making us unable to follow the doctrines of the gospel.

 

It is inexcusable to lay up what you do not need for any reasonable purposes.  If we lock it up in chests, while the poor and distressed are in need, we are practicing cruelty.

 

Be a faithful and wise steward of God and of the poor.  Be different from the poor in only two circumstances: that your wants are first supplied out of the portion of the Lord’s good which remains in your hands, and that you have the blessedness of giving.  Have no other foundation in this world, but lay up for yourself a good foundation in heaven.  And then you will hear at that happy hour the King say, “I was hungry and you gave me food.  I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you took me in; naked, and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me.  Come, blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” -- from a summary of John Wesley’s sermon on laying up treasures in heaven.

 

We want others to love and esteem us, and to behave towards us according to justice and mercy and truth.  We desire that others may do for us all the good that they can without injuring themselves, giving up trifles for our conveniences, giving up conveniences for our necessities, and giving up necessities when our need is extreme.  Apply this to yourself, and act in the same way towards your neighbors! -- from a summary of John Wesley’s sermon on the Golden Rule

 

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Electronic Fund Transfer

Many of us pay our bills online, we get paid online, we transfer funds between accounts online.

You can now do this with your regular giving to Nelson Memorial UMC!

 

Simply download this form, fill it out, and return it to the church office.

Then, at a time you designate, and at an amount you authorize, your giving to the church can be done automatically and securely.

If your circumstances change, the date and/or amount can be changed as easily as making a phone call to the office.

You can do this for part of your intended giving (a portion transferred electronically, and a portion by check or cash),

which may be the best option if your income/assets vary month to month,

or you can set this up for all of your intended giving, if your income is more predictable.

 

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Missouri United Methodist Foundation

The foundation can help you with your stewardship of accumulated wealth by providing you with such financial instruments as:

Charitable Gift Annuity

Charitable Remainder Unitrust

Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust

Life Insurance Policy Gift

Charitable Lead Trust

Appreciated Property

Donor Advised Funds

 

Each instrument has tax implications (whether current or estate), as well as advantages to the donor and the church,

with which the Foundation can help you.

 

You can contact them at www.mumf.org or by calling 800-332-8238.

 

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Some Helpful Definitions

 

Tithe

In the Bible, a tithe is the sacrificial and proportional gift of one’s harvest given to support the priesthood and the Temple.

There were 11 “tribes” who gave 10% each to support the 12th “tribe” of priests.

This would seem to be one tribe getting 110% to live on while the others got 90%, but the priesthood was also responsible for aiding the poor.

 

Offering

In the Bible, an offering was given to show gratitude to God for a blessing received,

such as the birth of a new child, the delivery from an illness, the reconciliation between persons, and other joyful occasions.

Sometimes, the offering was given in anticipation of a blessing;

i.e., as a sign of our faith that God is still working for our good even though we are currently being challenged.

 

Gifts

In the Bible, gifts are bestowed for the purpose of creating a specific benefit (i.e., relief for the poor),

which also carries with it an obligation that it be used to carry out a caring mission for others in need of that benefit.

Today, we call this “designated giving.”

 

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Figuring Our Accountability for All Our Stewardship before God

This form will help you see where you money goes.

Sermon 44, “The Use of Money” (The Standard 44 Sermons of the Methodist Connection)

 helps us to understand the importance of being accountable for all our money.

 

A.  Support of Personal/Family Lifestyle: ____________________

            Food __________       Clothing __________  Insurance __________

            Car maintenance & fuel __________            Education __________

            Entertainment __________    Other lifestyle expenses __________

           

B.  Repayment of Debt as part of that lifestyle: ____________________

            House payments __________            Car payments __________

            Credit card debt __________ Other loans __________

 

C.  Support of the Community: ____________________

            Federal taxes __________ Property taxes __________ State taxes __________

            Other taxes __________ Charitable giving (other than church) __________

 

D.  Saving for the future and retirement: ____________________

            Investments __________        IRAs/pension contributions __________

            Other savings __________

 

E.  Support of the Church: ____________________

            General budget __________  Building debt service __________

            Building debt pay down __________ Other designated giving __________

 

Income less (A + B + C + D+ E) equals unaccounted money of our stewardship

 

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Figuring a Percentage of What We Have

The left column is annual income.  The numbers below each percentage is the monthly figure (income multiplied by percentage, divided by 12 months).  To find the monthly amount between two figures (example $28,000) add together the figure for $25,000 and $3,000.  For amounts between figures in the chart, (example $73,000) add the figures for $50,000, $20,000, and $3,000. To take a “step forward in faith,” move up at least 1% in giving, with the goal of reaching 10%.

 

 Annual Income

1% Giving

2% Giving

3% Giving

4% Giving

5% Giving

6% Giving

7% Giving

8% Giving

9% Giving

10% Giving

1,000

0.83

1.67

2.50

3.33

4.17

5.00

5.83

6.67

7.50

8.33

2,000

1.67

3.33

5.00

6.67

8.33

10.00

11.67

13.33

15.00

16.67

3,000

2.50

5.00

7.50

10.00

12.50

15.00

17.50

20.00

22.25

25.00

4,000

3.33

6.67

10.00

13.33

16.67

20.00

23.33

26.67

30.00

33.33

5,000

4.16

8.33

12.50

16.67

20.83

25.00

29.16

33.33

37.50

41.67

10,000

8.33

16.67

25.00

33.33

41.67

50.00

58.33

66.67

75.00

83.33

15,000

12.50

25.00

37.50

50.00

62.50

75.00

87.50

100.00

112.50

125.00

20,000

16.67

33.33

50.00

66.67

83.33

100.00

116.67

133.33

150.00

166.67

25,000

20.83

41.66

62.50

83.33

104.17

125.00

145.83

166.67

187.50

208.33

30,000

25.00

50.00

75.00

100.00

125.00

150.00

175.00

200.00

225.00

250.00

35,000

29.16

58.33

87.50

116.67

145.83

175.00

204.17

233.33

262.50

291.67

40,000

33.33

66.67

100.00

133.33

166.67

200.00

233.33

266.67

300.00

333.33

45,000

37.50

75.00

112.50

150.00

187.50

225.00

262.50

300.00

337.50

375.00

50,000

41.67

66.67

125.00

166.67

208.33

250.00

291.67

333.33

375.00

416.67

75,000

62.50

125.00

187.50

250.00

312.50

375.00

437.50

500.00

562.50

625.00

100,000

83.33

166.67

250.00

333.33

416.67

500.00

583.33

666.67

750.00

833.33

 

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One Couple’s Story of Stewardship

from “The Five Vital Practices” by Bishop Robert Schnase

 

Matt and Kerri are professionals, married, parents of 2 children, living a typical suburban lifestyle.  They were active in their church, had participated faithfully in Disciple Bible Study, and felt good about the amount of money they gave to the church.  Their pastor asked them to do a devotion for Consecration Sunday a few years ago.  When they did the math, they were surprised that they actually gave less than 2% of their income.

 

That year, they made a commitment to increase their giving to 3%, which meant an increase over what they had been giving by almost half.  The next year, they made a commitment to increase their giving to 4%, which required them to rethink their spending habits.  They looked at how often they chose fast food over eating in, how many years they drove their cars before trading, and the kind of entertaining they did with their family.

 

The next year, they made a decision to apply half of their annual raise towards their giving until they reached 10%, with the other half going towards savings and debt reduction.  By doing this, they were able to reach 10% giving sooner than they had thought possible, and they describe it as a real “gut check moment” in their faith when they wrote the first tithe check to the church.

 

The pastor again asked Matt and Kerri to share a devotion for Consecration Sunday.  They felt privileged and humbled to share their story, but they didn’t want to appear boastful or self-righteous about their giving.  They wanted to share that their journey towards tithing had been satisfying, if not always easy.

 

They decided to share how the tithe had deepened their understanding and practice of faith, since it required putting God first instead of last in their finances.  They decided to share how tithing made them consider if every dollar was being used in ways that fulfilled God’s purposes for their family, their church, and their community.  They decided to share that they no longer felt trapped or anxious about how much money they had, since they knew they could freely give 10% away.  They decided to share how their commitment to tithing strengthened their commitment to their family, as they had discussions about their goals and values that they might not have had otherwise.  And they shared how tithing sealed and confirmed their sense of belonging and being part of the mission of the church to make new disciples for Jesus Christ.