Exactly Who is Doing the Giving?

Bartley brings up the issue of Government funding the church to carry out welfare services. This is a hot topic for many missions of the church including youthwork.

Whilst there are many considerations around the matter, I would like to merely ask: Who is doing the giving?

This is a hard question, but we all need to be careful that we consider it and are aware of it in our own situations.

As Christians, God has asked us to give our lives, as a sacrifice, to put others first. We show love in what we do, because it is our resource that we are giving.

If I give and in my giving I employ someone else to do the work, is it me who is giving or is it my employee? Well, it is me – surely. Sure, there may be the case where my employee is adding his giving on top of mine, perhaps putting in extra hours. That would be the his giving, not mine.

Our love needs to consist of giving of what we have got. Being a ‘professional Christian’ doesn’t mean that you are giving anything – it is only when you go beyond your job that you are giving, or when you receive ‘tiny pay’ (I knew that there was a good reason for such low pay! 🙂 ) – just the same as a shelf-stacking job down at Tesco’s, it is only when you go beyond the requirements of your job that you begin to give.

(note: how fantastically tax efficient it is to be a low paid youthworker and to make your giving your time rather than your money! Alternatively you could give money, but be taxed on the extra income you would need to receive before giving the money away. There isn’t a rule on this though – we just individually have to know God’s calling, and sometimes that can be to make money, possibly…)

When we think about giving let’s start by looking at what we have to give. It doesn’t need to be ‘silver and gold’ of which you may ‘have none’, but it does need to be something that you have.

Don’t seek merely to be an unloving, ungenerous, ungiving conduity of someone else’s love or giving. Don’t seek to merely be an paid arm of the state, or a paid arm of other Christians.

Sure, join with others who want to give, join with those who want to fund (as long as they have the same ultimate aims and wish to use the same methods as you), but don’t forget where your giving ends and someone else’s giving begins.

Ultimately it is giving what God has freely given us that matters.

Youthwork is a fantastically important thing to be doing – do make sure that the youth can see that you are not just giving other’s resources, but that you are giving your own too. It is that that gives you authenticity.

As an aside, I’ve just come across a case where (non-church) parents were given a letter by the youthwork explaining that as so much money went on upkeep of the church building it would be useful for parents to contribute to the youth activities. I was a bit bemused that the church felt it worth saying that the building was a higher priority than the people and that, whilst the church was willing to spend hundreds of pounds a week on the building, it wasn’t willing to spend a much smaller amount on people…

6 thoughts on “Exactly Who is Doing the Giving?

  1. have been asking myself questions about this of late…wondering what it would be like to just ‘be myself’ living and working in my community, rather than ‘being a youthworker’ living and working in my community.

    i guess for a while i’ve taken the attitude that a lot of my giving comes in the form of service rather than money, but i’m increasing the hours for which i get paid in the autumn, so i might have to re-evaluate things.

  2. When giving is usually discussed it is usually in regard to finances, but there needs to be a realisation that if people didn’t give their time, then nothing would happen either. A strange situation for you, is that my church give a certain amount to help support the ministry that i head up which is across the area, but don’t necessarily give me anything for heading up the youth work in our church. But i know that my giving in this situation is in my time.

    the one other comment to make about giving is what does God expect? I know that it is said that we should give 10 percent of our income, but which comes first, giving of the 10 percent, or the paying of the bills and enabling your family to live? I am sure that God isn’t unreasonable but sometimes, there is a greater focus on what we should give than our priority to care forthose who God has placed in our lives.

  3. problem the CofE have is that some of the funding that supports our two National Youth Advisers comes from the DFES – which somewhat “inhibits” a prophetic, cutting edge voice in the world of youth ministry . . . when we are funded by external agencies we do need to ask whether it restricts that which we are called to do by God or whether we should be funding it ourselves and have abdicated our responsibility before God and expect others to support His work!

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  5. Hi Ali, Andy, thanks for your contributions (I’ve only just got back from Greenbelt).

    Regarding 10%, I have to say that I ignore that entirely. We try (note that I say ‘try’) to treat all that we have as God’s, so to arbitrarily give 10% doesn’t have much logic.

    Perhaps this should take me to my next post…

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