10 January 2023
Time, talents and treasures: What will you give in 2023?
Lyn Woods talks to Generous Discipleship Team Leader Denise Wilkinson about what Christian giving means today and the resources available.
As people navigate the cost of living crisis, any mention of giving might invoke mixed feelings. But as Christians we should not limit our giving to merely monetary offerings – there’s so much more we can give!
William Booth recognised from the Army’s outset that basic human needs had to be met before people would be receptive to the soul-saving message of the gospel. That remains at the heart of the Army’s work today, whether it’s feeding the hungry, providing a warm welcoming space for those who are cold and lonely this winter, being a listening ear or giving spiritual direction and hope. Some of these things require tangible funds or donations, others that people give of themselves or a combination of both.
The Generous Discipleship team go into corps and centres, teaching about giving in its fullest form. They help Salvationists and those they connect with to work out their possibilities and potential by becoming the flourishing church that God needs, mirroring his generosity to all.
Denise explains that ‘different people and places have different needs’, so the work of the Generous Discipleship team in the provision of resources and support is tailored to individuals, corps and centres.
‘It’s about the balance of three elements – time, talents and treasures,’ says Denise. ‘Understanding the importance of Christian stewardship and personal giving is a key part of discipleship.’
Everyone possesses different abilities, fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22 and 23) and spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12) that God can use, even if they haven’t yet considered them. Some people have the gift of teaching, encouraging, hospitality, visitation or communication. Some are gifted at intercessory prayer. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people were blessed simply by someone taking the time to check in with them.
Financial giving and fundraising are necessary for the Army’s mission and welfare provision to continue and flourish, but we must ensure that we are not only consistent in our own giving but also in asking others to give.
The Army should not only be seen on the streets collecting at Christmas; it should be a visible presence in communities all year round. Ask any Army herald about the opportunities for spiritual mission and signposting that come from collecting on the streets. Often people want to give something back and share their story because of help they – or a loved one – received from the Army, just as we should give back to God for the incredible sacrificial gift he gave to us.
The Bible presents clear instruction on how giving should be done: we must give cheerfully and generously (see 2 Corinthians 9:6 and 7), we must give of ourselves (see Romans 12:1) and we must give privately (see Matthew 6:1–4).
As Christians in a time of economic crisis, let us examine and pray about our own giving – individually and collectively. May we keep focused on mission and Kingdom growth as we listen and respond to the Spirit’s leading over stewardship of our time, talents and treasures. Is there more we could give?
All I have I give thee, though my powers are small,
Life and time and talents, Jesus, take them all.
Helping people understand the importance of generous and sacrificial living.
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DFL is a weekend retreat at William Booth College to help you discern God's calling.