What is Your Reason For Giving?

by The Rev. Dr. Stuart Baskin

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small.

Love so amazing, so divine,

demands my life, my soul, my all.
— "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" | Isaac Watts, lyrics

What’s your reason? Your reason for giving?

For some, it is deeply personal, rooted in some experience of God’s presence at a particularly difficult time in their lives. For others, it is out of a sense of civic duty, springing from a feeling of responsibility for the common good. For still others, giving grows out of a desire to make a difference in the world around them, and they want to see the impact of their giving.

All these reasons, as well as other motivations, are alive and well in our congregation. We give for a wide variety of reasons. What unites them all is the reality that we give in response to something. 

Isaac Watts’s great hymn, When I survey the wondrous cross, first published in 1707, lays out for me the most compelling for giving: God’s love.

God’s love may sound like too great an abstraction for many, but it is the awareness of God love and mercy to me, to our church, and to our world that provides my motivation. Watts’s hymn invites us to consider God’s love hanging on a cross in ancient Palestine, where Christ suffered and died for us and for our sins in order that our estrangement from God may be bridged. This is anything but abstract.

Read through the Bible and you will encounter countless examples of God’s love for us. From the story of creation, in which God’s love causes all things to come into being to the vision of a new heaven and a new earth in Revelation, God’s love fills virtually every page of the Bible.

So that’s my reason for giving. What’s yours?