Joyful giving

Three days to go until the pledges are due in. Some of us will be grappling with whether to give by "reason" or by "revelation".

Of course we all need to sit down and calculate what is affordable: what is in our bank accounts, what our income is and what our outgoings are. We then may be able to see ways in which we can either raise our income or reduce our outgoings in order to be able to give more. Others of us will be thinking that our regular giving to the ministry of St Bs is that which comes out of our income and this special one-off project is a capital project and so we can think about spending some of our capital on it. This usually involves rearrangements: selling investments, selling a car, remortgaging the house, possibly even downsizing our home. This takes time and organisation. All this is giving by "reason", or in other words working it all out by logic, and it is very important that we all do this.

Then there is giving by "revelation". This is when we sit down and ask God: "what do you want me to give?" Perhaps we may fast, read the Bible, leave a set period of time before praying again and writing down a figure. If we have a partner we may want to swap folded pieces of paper across the kitchen table, each with our figure on it, and see if God has said the same thing to both of us. Whilst Jane and I didn't swap bits of paper we did swap first thoughts and then figures and remarkably both times came to the same conclusions. This type of giving is beyond logic; it is an act of faith.

Giving is never meant to feel comfortable. But it is meant to be joyful. As we give in our pledges some of us are taking huge steps of faith, and in doing so we are filled with joy.

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