Sermon Illustrations

BECAUSE ONE GAVE

Former seminary and pastor, George Gaston tells the following story that speaks to the value of attitude in giving.

Years ago, I pastored a church that decided to build a worship center. The old building had suffered a major fire. Even so, our decision to build a new facility didn’t come easily. For months we agonized over the thought of tearing down a building which had served as a place of worship for nearly fifty years. Some of the membership felt it best to simply remodel the old building, while others believed the time had come to start anew. After all the practical considerations were analyzed, we voted to construct a new place to meet God in worship.

Some of our best church families had opposed the proposal to undertake new construction. On the Monday morning following the church’s vote to build, I was met at my office by a man who had spoken forcefully against building. He rehearsed with me again all the reasons why the church shouldn’t have decided to construct a new building. Then, with tears in his eyes, he looked at me and said, "...But I love this church and I’m going to support it." With that, he took out his checkbook and wrote a check for $1,000, making the first contribution to our building fund. He continued, "My wife and I have decided not to buy the new car we wanted--we’ll be giving all of that money for the new church. We can buy a car later on."

That one family’s action was something of a catalyst for our church. They began to prompt others to give their best in expressing love for God and church. I was privileged in those days to share similar conversations with many others who discovered the joy of rearranging their priorities to declare a new commitment. As we all found the joy of cheerful, faith-filled giving, we saw our church experience a revival. During that time Sunday School attendance increased dramatically, as did our financial contributions to the church. We baptized more people during the days of our building program than we did during the rest of the time I served as pastor of that congregation.

(From a sermon by Dave McFadden, "How Should I Give?" 1/21/2009)

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