1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
A Message from Pastor Dianne
To the People of God at Harwich,
The fall is upon us and October will call us to don sweaters and contemplate evening fireside chats. The earlier nightfall will encourage most of us to put on our slippers and give up forays abroad in the dark. It is hard to imagine what life was like for Jesus in a world without electricity and running water. A light in the darkness was truly appreciated and the proximity to a fire was a blessing.
As we contemplate the last days of the church calendar and the approach of Thanksgiving we are reminded to count our blessings and often encouraged to consider our response to God’s mission by designating our support of God’s work through the church for the upcoming year.
Here are the four types of giving according to the Bible:
Tithes often get confused with offerings. According to the Bible, tithes are 10% of your income (Leviticus 27:30), and it can’t count as an offering. Anything you give more than the required tithe is what counts as an offering.
Remember that the land and all its fruits were given by God. Thus we recognize Him as the provider of all things. In our money based economy we convert our handiwork into exchange value as money.
The New Testament tells us that we should not neglect the weightier issues. Yes, it’s good to offer a portion of our income to God but we should not forget to offer justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23). We can’t practice one while neglecting the other.
2. The Seed or Offerings
Offerings, after tithes, are more of a free will gift. It’s up to you how much seed you want to give. The more you give, the more you will receive (Luke 6:38). Think of it as the more seeds you sow, the more plants you can harvest.
3. The First Fruits
The first fruits are usually done once a year or for every new blessing that you receive (Deuteronomy 14:22). Any new blessings that you receive count as a first fruit, so all these should be offered to God (Proverbs 3:9). Giving your first fruits once a year will show how grateful you are for the blessings that you received from Him. First Fruits come from the harvest.
Unlike those three types of giving above which you should give to God, alms are for humankind. Your compassion and sympathy will lead you to help the less fortunate and the needy. Although most people do alms-giving, the Bible, says that you should give alms in secret so you can protect the dignity of those who are in crisis.
So, I pray you might contemplate in the warmth of your home, the weightier things of this Year of Our Lord 2022…. The refugees, the homeless, the people impacted by hurricanes and other natural disasters, and thank God that you have triumphed over your challenges of the past and have hope that God still has things for you to do with the dawn of each new day.
In the Love of Christ,