Late last fall a family connected to our community came into an unexpected sum of money—grateful for the multitude of gifts in their own life and the community that they call home they made a $10,000 contribution to Land of the Sky UCC. Our community is a shoestring budget kind of place and outside of our grant funding we have not received such large gifts. Imagine the complete surprise of Amanda and Sara when this gift arrived—we were unsure of our next gathering space, aware that in the future we would be coordinating and planning a move, uncertain of what would be at the future location and what we would need. The gift couldn’t have come at a better time.
Our entire community is full of people who give generously of their time and talent and treasure. Yet, we live in a culture that often creates such a feeling of scarcity that we become wary about how generous we can actually be. Generous giving of our lives is its own gift to each and every one of us. In a culture that pushes individualism and consumption at every turn and preaches that our money is zero-sum game, generous giving declares “I have an abundance and I am grateful.” It also affirms our deepest values and makes a statement about the relationship we have with money. All the money that comes to Land of the Sky UCC is tithed back into the community and the wider church. Our commitment to this is based on the biblical principle that we should give to God the first fruits of our labors.
“The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.” Exodus: 23:19
Our commitment to give of the first fruits of all offerings at Land of the Sky allow us to support a variety of organizations in our local community and wider church. Land of the Sky UCC is its people and who better than its people to share the Love of God. Because of the generous unexpected offering we wanted people in our community to experience how it feels to be free from the confines of expectations about where your money goes and for whom it should be reserved. On our 3rd birthday we gifted each person in worship $20 and asked them to give it away… with the following restrictions
1. You couldn’t keep it.
2. You couldn’t give it back to the church.
3. You needed to report back what you had done with it.
Imagine all that is possible. Here are some of the possibilities…