What do you give to your church? What does it cost you?
The New Testament exhorts us to give, and especially to give to the church. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
For those with ample means, giving time and effort to the church may prove more costly than writing a check with several zeroes. For those with little wealth, even a small gift may be a huge sacrifice, and such saints may be rich in other ways. Giving to the church is about more than money.
One way to evaluate our giving is to consider three resources: time, talents, and treasures. A healthy Christian life involves giving not just one or two of these to one’s church, but all three.
The New Testament exhorts every Christian to care for fellow church members in ways that require us to spend time generously. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). We can’t celebrate someone’s victory, much less mourn someone’s loss, if we’re always in a hurry.
Consider Paul’s exhortation to all the Christians in Galatia:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:1–2)
Restoring those who have slid into sin isn’t the work of pastors only; it’s the work of the whole body. And helping those caught in sin requires generous, repeated gifts of time.
Our calling from God to be church members is one among many callings He has given to each of us. Some of us are also called to provide for our families, to care for young children in the home, or to study. We should be faithful in each of these callings. Yet we should never use faithfulness in one calling as an excuse to forsake another.
Are we too busy with work to weep with those who weep? Do our kids’ sports games claim so much time that we have none left over to help Christians who are stuck in sin? Are we so consumed by studying for exams that we have no idea what our church’s needs are or how we might help meet them?
As the Puritan Thomas Watson said, “Time is a talent to trade with.” How are we investing our time to profit our church? How we spend our time both reveals and trains our hearts. Where our time goes, there our hearts will be also.