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by Jonathan Krause

I learnt my first big fundraising lesson in the dusty warehouse of a noisy printing factory in an industrial suburb south of Melbourne.

It was 1986. I had hair down to my waist. And I had the stupidest job in the world – writing poems for greeting cards. It seems I was the only person in the southern hemisphere with this job, which led New Idea to do a feature about it, and Gold Logie winner Ernie Sigley to invite me on to breakfast TV so he could crack jokes at my expense.

Each week I would be assigned 50 greeting cards to write poems for. Thinking I already knew everything, I set out to change the world of greeting cards forever by vowing never to write a rhyming poem. No love/glove/dove for me … which is when my boss beckoned me to follow her into the warehouse.

She pointed to a pallet of boxes of greeting cards – returned greeting cards from shops that couldn’t sell them. She said: ‘Jonathan, it’s not about you or what you want to write. It’s about what people want to buy.’

Fundraising is all about what you want to do for others.

So, my fundraising job at Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is straightforward. I simply introduce you to people who need your help, support them to tell you what you can do to help and then leave you to decide what action you will take.

Of course, I try to present people’s story as clearly as I can. And I look for exciting ways you can act, such as Gifts of Grace, the GRACE Project, Walk My Way.

Of course, I respect you enough to be frank with you. Show you the urgency. Explain the challenges. Tell you what it costs.

Then, ask unashamedly for your help.

That’s Fundraising 101 – but really it’s one-to-one.

My dad sometimes grumbles that he gets too many letters from charities. Other people ask not to receive letters, so they can save money for the charity and help lower ‘overheads’. I understand those feelings, especially when you help people (and animals) through multiple charities.

However, in fundraising, we know that unless you talk to people at least every couple of months, they can forget about you, donations drop off, fewer people are helped, and ‘overheads’ actually go up.

So, my job in fundraising is to balance the ‘smell-of-an-oily-rag’ approach – over a five-year average ALWS ‘overheads’ are less than 15 per cent – with doing what my 30 years of experience have shown me to be the most effective, efficient way to raise money to help people.

I’ve been blessed to be able to teach fundraising around the world – the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand and even to 500 hospital administrators in the middle of China!

What I’ve found in all those places is that people always give from their heart. Someone’s need touches them, and they are moved to help.

You cannot educate people into giving by teaching lots of facts or statistics to persuade them. It doesn’t work, because the ‘head’ is not strong enough to overturn a decision made in the heart.

The only time fundraising should be about educating, is when we try to show you the most effective way for you to help others. For example:

  • DON’T send boxes of ‘stuff’ that cost a fortune to transport and can create ‘winners and losers in communities’.
  • DO support local communities with training and long-term development, rather than going and doing everything for them.
  • ALWAYS work hard to make sure no-one is forgotten, including people with disabilities, seniors and minority groups.

There’s another ‘Boss’ who has taught me about fundraising – Jesus.

Ever since I was on the Student Representative Council organising ‘Rice Days’ at Luther College in 1976, I’ve been driven by the words of Matthew 25:34–40. This is the story of the sheep and the goats, where Jesus talks about his people feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, visiting the sick … and pointing out that when you and I do this for someone overlooked, ignored or forgotten, we are doing it for him.

What’s interesting is what Jesus teaches directly before that, in Matthew 25:14–30. Here, he tells the story of the Master giving his servants ‘talents’ – or in modern translations money – different amounts according to the servants’ different abilities.

When you read it in The Message version of the Bible, you see language that wouldn’t be out of place in a business operational plan: ‘delegated responsibilities’, ‘depending on their abilities’, ‘went to work’, ‘doubled his master’s investment’.

For the first two servants, who worked hard and doubled the master’s investment, we read: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

However, when the master calls to account the last servant, who simply buried what he had been given because he was too scared – or lazy – to put it to work, we read:

  • ‘It’s criminal to live cautiously like that.’
  • ‘If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?’
  • ‘… get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb.’

Each day I must ask myself which servant I am. It’s a question we as the Lutheran Church need to ask each day too.

As a fundraiser, I (and ALWS) try to be the bold, hard-working servant of verses 14–30 – inspiring you with ideas, being efficient with your donations, helping you have as big an impact as you can with the gifts God has given you … to bless others as we follow Jesus as the sheep of verses 34–40, feeding the hungry, giving water to those are thirsty, caring for the homeless and sick.

For me, fundraising is a critical part of this ministry.

I thank God I have been given the opportunity to serve this way and been blessed to see the transformation in people’s lives as we work – and raise funds – together to bring love to life. What a joy!

Jonathan Krause is ALWS Community Action Manager.

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by Lisa McIntosh

In the first year after being accepted into the Australian National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced child sexual abuse in institutional settings, 21 applications have been made to the scheme for redress by the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA).

The LCA/NZ’s Professional Standards Manager Tim Ross said of the first 21 applications made, 10 offers of redress had been made to applicants by 11 January, with a total of $767,000 in monetary payments being offered. Three applications for redress by the LCA have so far been declined by the scheme but could yet be appealed, while eight applications were still under consideration as of 11 January this year. Mr Ross said applications could be made to the scheme for redress up until 30 June 2027.

Executive Officer of the Church Peter Schirmer said the LCA’s participation in the scheme was part of its commitment to support those who have experienced child sexual abuse in our church. ‘Protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities is of paramount importance as we endeavour to follow Christ’s example of love, care and compassion’, Mr Schirmer said.

Meanwhile, the LCA/NZ’s Child Protection Project Team draft LCA Child Safety Standards for Congregations will be moving to a consultation phase from early this year.

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If you’ve ever belonged to an amateur sporting team, cultural society, arts or environment body, service club or charity, or if you’ve been part of a school or church community, you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with fundraising.

I know what it’s like, working hard to stage that quiz night, gala dinner, high tea, concert, wine and cheese tasting, movie screening or strawberry fair and pleading with friends and family to attend and buy or sell raffle tickets. And what your club or community makes in return can hardly seem worth the effort.

But we contribute physically and financially because we care about the cause. And there are always good causes to support, both within our home churches, our LCA/NZ and our wider communities.

In 2020 the COVID-19 lockdowns and changing restrictions on gatherings made fundraising more difficult than ever. But as a result we saw some fresh and inspiring ideas come to life. And members of our Lutheran family gave generously.

When, due to COVID, ALWS couldn’t hold large Walk My Way events around the country to support schooling for refugee kids, people walked alone or with family around the yard, the block or the local park, or committed to other challenges.

When Lutheran pastors in the Philippines were left without financial support due to church closures and no government safety net, their brothers in the LCA/NZ (and some Lutheran congregations) sent financial support for several months.

As it wasn’t possible to have a room full of trivia buffs ready to take on the toughest questions, the folk at Our Saviour Rochedale in Queensland hosted an online quiz night and raised thousands for a community project in Africa.

Lutheran Women of Australia have continued their wonderful support of a wide range of local and international mission and service projects throughout COVID, holding innovative fundraisers such as ‘cakeless stalls’.

And there are many more examples. In this issue we share some reflections on fundraising for the kingdom – and come to see that God multiplies our gifts. Watch out for more of these encouraging tales in coming issues, too, as these pages are so full of resources and information we couldn’t fit everything in this time.

Another exciting development is that our new digital edition of The Lutheran is now available. All our regular features are online as well as in print, and print subscribers can access the digital version at no extra cost! To subscribe, give the new digital version as a gift, or to register for free digital access, go to

God bless your reading.


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Rev John Henderson

Bishop Lutheran Church of Australia

2020 was a complex, confusing and sometimes difficult year. Our reactions were equally mixed – fear, frustration, anger, relief, grief, selfishness, pride, joy and disappointment, among others.

Are we glad that our society has been spared the worst (so far at least) of COVID-19, or do we mourn those who have died, or who live in circumstances far worse than our own?

Is self-protection paramount, or should we risk our safety for the welfare of others? You could say that our bubble of invincibility has burst, a perpetual lesson going back to the tower of Babel. In Genesis 11, God scattered people across the earth.

In 2020 we hunkered down. Essentially, we could only deal with the disease by hiding from it, and our governments quickly became very good at making us do that. Soon, with the help of vaccines, we might just re-establish enough control to return to business as normal – or close to it.

Human beings are great adaptors. And, at least in Australia and New Zealand, our lifestyles will probably be largely unchanged, except for a few things like travel.

What have we learned from 2020? Once we know the answer to that question, we will know how wise or foolish we have become.

I pray for wisdom – the wisdom of knowing that we are not our own gods, but there is One, whom we know as Jesus Christ, who is Immanuel, God with us. And knowing him and trusting God’s Son, who was born for us, lived and died for us, conquered death for us is the way to eternal life, whatever ravages of this present life may confront us.

Our faith is not reliant on our security in this world. It does not rely on successful systems which meet all our needs. It does not depend on maintaining the comforting, familiar structures of society and church. God would still save us without all these things.

When the people of Israel, devastated and fearful, found themselves caught between a pursuing army and the impassable waters of the Red Sea, Moses said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’ Then God cut through the waters for them and they walked through on dry land.

Our dry land, the bedrock of our faith, is Jesus Christ. The devil and the world have already done their worst to him, and he has overcome it all, even death.

To paraphrase Moses, we now need to stand firm in our Saviour and keep still while the Lord fights for us.

When distressed, Martin Luther would comfort himself by repeating, ‘I am baptised! I am baptised!’ When the world tries to destroy us, tempting us to abandon Jesus and justify ourselves, we too can reply, ‘I am baptised! God has given me faith in my Saviour Jesus Christ. In his name, I am washed clean.’ We can still stand together confidently today as God’s baptised, redeemed family of sinners and saints. With him there is enough love, and enough power, to save the whole world.

Bishop John Henderson is on annual leave. This column has been adapted from his Heartland eNews published 16 December 2020.

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Despite a COVID-19 lockdown forcing a last-minute change of plans, Stanley Roberts was ordained in unique circumstances as a Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) at Papunya in the Northern Territory late last year.

LCA/NZ Bishop John Henderson had planned to conduct the ordination on 22 November at the Indigenous community 240 kilometres west of Alice Springs, but a snap lockdown announced in South Australia a few days earlier prevented him leaving Adelaide.

However, local leaders decided to proceed, with Finke River Mission (FRM) fieldworker Pastor Paul Traeger ordaining and installing Stanley to his new roles. Pastor Stanley will serve as SMP for Papunya and the Pintupi-Luritja language area. It is believed to be the first time in the LCA that an SMP has ordained another SMP. More than 200 people attended the service held at the local school basketball court due to the church having been damaged by a fire. After a procession of pastors and evangelists, Papunya Pastor Graham Poulson opened the service, conducted a baptism and preached, while Pastor Stanley led the communion liturgy after his ordination.

Pastor Stanley, 45, is the son of the late Pastor Murphy Roberts, who 38 years ago became one of the first Pintupi-Luritja pastors ordained. While his father did not live to see Stanley ordained, one relative who did was a local pastor, who sadly died suddenly just four days later. Pastor Stanley said later: ‘He must have been waiting for me’.

Pastor Stanley was also presented with the late Pastor Max Stollznow’s robe. Pastor Max was serving as FRM Support Worker and pastor at Papunya when Murphy Roberts was ordained.

A former community night patrol worker, Pastor Stanley finished that role in 2019 to concentrate on ministry duties, having completed the FRM pastors’ curriculum. He is married to Sheila and has four children.

– reporting by Pastor Paul Traeger

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by Wendy Habel

‘Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered’ (Proverbs 11:25).

How do you motivate yourself? How do you do something day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year?

It may not be exactly the same, but as I have found over the years since becoming a member of Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA), women have become very adept at fundraising for projects across the Lutheran Church.

Time is a God-given privilege; it is measured out in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and years by the grace of God. He alone knows how much time we have and when he will call us to our heavenly home.

There is a catchcry among some women: ‘I’ll help. If I find time to help with the Lord’s work, I can be pretty sure he’ll give me the time to finish what I have to do!’ This is the motivation I see in the faces of beautiful ladies as I have travelled in my role on the LWA executive.

Each state serves on the executive for a three-year term and we have 11 projects to support through fundraising. These include Aboriginal Missions; Australian Lutheran World Service; LCA International Mission programs and partnerships in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand; support for overseas students studying at Australian Lutheran College (ALC); the ALC Women’s Auxiliary and the ALC Pastoral Ministry Assistance Fund.

Between January 2019 and December 2020 an inspirational total of $251,924.15 was raised. Even during COVID-19 LWA women have continued in their support. Innovative fundraising activities have included ‘cakeless stalls’, brown-wrapped auctions, catering for fellowship luncheons and high teas, and giving through knitted or crocheted rugs, toys, children’s clothing and beanies for all ages.

We are privileged to serve and when each women’s fellowship gives – no matter how much or little – God multiplies our gifts and these monetary amounts are used to support many needs. Each state has projects, too, and these are also supported generously.

Leonie from the Bethlehem Ladies Fellowship in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, sums up the women’s attitude to serving and giving in a quote from the Lutheran Women magazine article ‘Busy hands and thankful hearts’: ‘Being able to give so many items to those in need … is a double blessing. Our prayer is that we can continue to do our “work” in his name.’

It’s important to remember we are all special in God’s sight, not because of our talents and skills but because we are filled with the Spirit, which is how we serve God’s purpose.

Wendy Habel is Lutheran Women of Australia President.

LWA is an auxiliary of the LCA. Lutheran Women magazine is issued bi-monthly in print and digital editions and is available at or through LCA Subscriptions via phone 08 8360 7270 or email:

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A long-held hope of the Lutheran churches of Indonesia was realised late last year with the opening of the Luther Study Centre (LSC) in Pemetangsiantar in North Sumatra.

The centre was opened on 1 December with members of the Indonesian churches joined online by friends and partners from around the world. While COVID robbed participants of the chance to celebrate this milestone in person, the LCA/NZ’s Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission, Pastor Matt Anker, said it didn’t hinder the sense of enthusiasm and joy for what the new centre represents.

‘In recent years there has been an awakening among the churches we partner within Indonesia’, he said. ‘Key leaders have come to realise that, despite their historic connections to the Lutheran confession, their church bodies have often strayed from distinctive Lutheran teachings on sin and grace.

‘Recognising that this has the potential to rob people of the comfort of the gospel and the certainty of salvation through faith in Christ, they called out for help and LCA International Mission is privileged to be one of the partners who has been able to respond. The LSC is primarily about strengthening their understanding and practice of theology that rightly distinguishes law and gospel, and that points people to the completed work of Christ on the cross.’

Rev Basa Hutabarat, the executive secretary of the National Committee of LWF churches in Indonesia said, ‘Our expectation is that the LSC will offer a program in Lutheran doctrine that will be compulsory for all theological students. Even teachers in Lutheran schools should take this program. From this doctrine we understand and know the relevance of Lutheran theology for our Christian life.’

In addition to providing financial support for the LSC, LCA International Mission is partnering with Australian Lutheran College (ALC) to provide both in-person and online seminars led by ALC faculty which will be offered through the LSC.

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These Australian Lutheran College pastoral ministry graduates come from a wide range of backgrounds but will all be stepping out in faith to begin their first assignments as General Ministry Pastors in 2021. Read on to discover more about their ministry journeys.


AGE: 57

FAMILY: Wife Narelle

HOME CONGREGATION: St Paul’s Mount Isa Qld

ASSIGNED TO: Greenock Parish SA

Who were the most influential people in your life as you were growing up? Too numerous to mention, but Jesus has been the most influential.

Who are the most influential people for you now? Jesus.

Before ALC? I have had numerous occupations along my life’s journey. The most significant would be 20 years’ service as a design and technology teacher.

Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? The Holy Spirit.

What is your most relied upon Bible verse and why? ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Matthew 11:28–29 – NLT). I find it most comforting.

The most important thing people need to know about God is … your Father loves you! You can know him and have a relationship with him through Jesus. You can trust his Spirit to teach and guide you. You can believe that he is who he says he is. You can count on him to keep his promises.

Which privilege of being a pastor are you most looking forward to? Serving our living God. Being able to bring others to an encounter with our God who is revealed as a God of love; also being able to administer God’s gifts through the sacraments and the preaching and teaching of the gospel through God’s word.

What is your favourite leisure activity? I like to run and play the guitar.



AGE: 56

FAMILY: Wife Sarah, seven children and five grandchildren

HOME CONGREGATION: St Peter’s Frankston Vic

ASSIGNED TO: Bethlehem Morley WA

Who were the most influential people in your life as you were growing up? I was

born in South Sudan. God called me through my older brother Philip. Then I was catechised by Peter Kay, who was the evangelist in the evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sudan.

Who are the most influential people for you now? Dr Ken Bartel and Dr Greg Lockwood – both have supported me in one way or another during my studies at ALC and even when I was doing my Diploma of Theology 10 years ago.

Before ALC? I was serving the Sudanese community for six years as Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) at St Peter’s Frankston in Victoria.

What is your most relied upon Bible verse and why? One of my favourite Bible verses is: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 – ESV).

Which privilege of being a pastor are you most looking forward to? I look forward to serving the people of God for years to come in my new role as General Ministry Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Morley, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What is your favourite leisure activity? I enjoy reading stories in my leisure time. I also like to take a nice walk.

If you could chat with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why? I would chat with Martin Luther if he was still alive because he rediscovered the truth of the gospel in the Scriptures, that we are justified through faith and not by our good works.



AGE: 48

FAMILY: Single


ASSIGNED TO: Southern Flinders Parish SA

Who were the most influential people in your life as you were growing up? From a spiritual perspective my mother Dawn – she made sure that I was at church and Sunday school each week – which in turn allowed my pastor and teachers to have their influence on me.

Before ALC? I worked in the finance industry writing financial plans.

Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? Until a few years ago I never thought that it would be a path that I would take. However, various things happened that led me to realise that God was wanting me to make a change in direction.

What is your most relied upon Bible verse and why? My most relied on Bible verse is John 3:16, there you have the gospel summed up in a single verse.

The most important thing people need to know about God is … Jesus died for you, he took on your sins and through his work you are restored into a right relationship with God. That is how much God loves you.

Which privilege of being a pastor are you most looking forward to? Sharing the message of Christ and what he has done for us with all people.

What is your favourite leisure activity? I enjoy a game of golf, but most of the time I am happy tending my fruit trees.

What is your favourite movie? If I had to select one as a representative of the movies I prefer perhaps The Titchfield Thunderbolt.

If you could chat with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why? I would like to have a chat with Archimedes – he was a great problem solver who could come up with very innovative solutions to problems.



AGE: 34

FAMILY: Wife Melissa and daughter Phoebe

HOME CONGREGATION: St John’s Southgate Vic

ASSIGNED TO: Nazareth Woolloongabba Qld

Who were the most influential people in your life as you were growing up? My family, my minister and my third-grade teacher. I learned a lot from Pastor Jarvis’s gentle and caring manner, and Mr Bussink challenged me to think critically and hear all the sides of a story.

Before ALC? I travelled a fair bit. I’ve done a number of labouring jobs, from warehouses to picking fruit. My last major occupation before study was managing a tea shop.

Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? God put a retired pastor, [the late] Neil Hampel, in my path. Neil encouraged me to consider studying for ordination.

What is your most relied upon Bible verse and why? I rely daily on the Psalms. For one specific verse, Jeremiah 29:11. This verse and the context around it are a constant reminder that God does have a plan for his creation, me included.

The most important thing people need to know about God is … who God is: the creator of heaven and earth, the all-powerful being who sustains all life and creation. But far from being distantly high above, God condescends to us. God formed Adam with his hands. God knit us together in the womb. God humbled himself to become flesh and blood. God is all powerful, and yet he would and did die to bring us back into relationship with him.

Which privilege of being a pastor are you most looking forward to? The special ways the pastoral office proclaims the gospel; absolving the sins of the congregation; proclaiming God’s grace and peace in sermons; serving fellow Christians the meal of Christ’s body and blood for the forgiveness of their sins.

What is your favourite leisure activity? I love to ride my pushbike.

What is your favourite movie? The Princess Bride



AGE: 38

FAMILY: Wife Maricel, and children Aaron, Elijah and Abigail.


ASSIGNED TO: Top End Parish NT

Who were the most influential people in your life as you were growing up? My family, particularly my mother. She has been a solid Christian inspiration throughout my life.

Who are the most influential people for you now? My mother is still such a great example of the faith. Also, many of the lecturers [at ALC], and congregational members and pastors that I have encountered.

Before ALC? I was a taxi driver; prior to that a recruitment consultant, an accounts clerk, general clerk, and a service station attendant and manager.

Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? The congregation in Geraldton, as well as Pastor Dieter Dell’Antonio and his wife Monica.

What is your most relied upon Bible verse and why? The whole of 1 Corinthians 13. Everything I want to do and be as a Christian and a minister in God’s church is centred around love.

The most important thing people need to know about God is … that he loves you – so much that he gave his only Son to die for you.

Which privilege of being a pastor are you most looking forward to? To minister to the sick and dying is something that I have found very humbling and honoured to be a part of.

What is your favourite leisure activity? My family and I are avid campers, we love to get out and about in God’s wonderful creation.

What is your favourite movie? The Matrix or Die Hard.

If you could chat with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why? The Apostle Paul. He has been an inspirational character for me. To chew the fat with him about his experiences would be something else!



AGE: 34

FAMILY: Single


ASSIGNED TO: St John’s Trinity Renmark and Holy Cross Paringa SA

Who were the most influential people in your life as you were growing up? My family has had a massive influence on me, along with teachers, sports coaches, and many other people that I have looked up to over the years.

Who are the most influential people for you now? There are many people – from other pastors to people that I have interacted with, to some more famous people who serve as an example for me.

Before ALC? I worked on the docks at Henderson in Western Australia in naval construction for BAE Systems.

Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? St Luke’s Parkwood congregation were among the most supportive, along with leaders of Lutheran Youth of WA, several pastors, and my family and friends.

What is your most relied upon Bible verse and why? Romans 8:35 is a reminder that no matter what happens in the world, God’s love is all-encompassing.

The most important thing people need to know about God is … God loves you, to the extent that Christ died for you.

What privilege of being a pastor are you most looking forward to? Bringing people the forgiveness of God, along with the body and blood of Jesus in holy communion.

What is your favourite leisure activity? This depends on how I am feeling, from spending time with friends or with a book to gardening, or computer games.

If you could chat with any famous person, living or dead who would it be and why? If I had the opportunity and language was not an issue, Jesus would be a good option.

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by Matt Anker 

In recent years I have witnessed the generosity of God’s people again and again. I’ve been blessed to see the LLL forgive a $75,000 loan to a congregation; humbled by a child sending the contents of her piggy bank to help build a much-needed church, along with an older couple donating more than $1 million to the same cause.

I’ve been astonished to see churches built in Africa with money that was donated with joy and seen the long-term blessings of gifts that fund theological education in Papua New Guinea and across South-East Asia. This all reminds me of a very generous widow in Luke’s gospel.

Read Luke 21:1-4.

What is your response to such generosity?

While I’m certain we would all give thanks to God for the generosity of his saints, how does this make you feel deep down? As you search your heart is there any sense of guilt or shame that you haven’t acted similarly? Or does it encourage a sense of pride in how generous you have been? Do you despair because you feel unable to respond with such generosity due to life’s circumstances?

Talk of giving inevitably raises all these reactions and more. So I want to say that your sins of pride, of stinginess toward the Lord, of trusting in yourself and not in the Lord, and of begrudgingly trying to please God through your giving – all these sins are forgiven and you are free because God did not hold back his only Son, but generously gave him up for us all.

I proclaim this good news to you because it is intimately connected with faithful giving, and unless you receive the forgiveness Christ won for you, it is impossible to give in a way that pleases the Lord.

Read Philippians 4:14–19.

What motivated the Philippians to support Paul and his ministry? (Chapter 1 gives you more insights.)

Paul is also acutely aware of their physical needs – how does he encourage them to continue in their generosity even in the face of such realities (v19)? How did God use their gifts to multiply the blessing they received?

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6–15.

What keywords does Paul use to describe Christian giving – both what it is and what it is not?

What makes a Christian giver cheerful?

According to verse 10, who is the ultimate owner of things we give?

We are but stewards of God’s resources, tasked with the responsibility of managing what we have to bring glory to God and his mercy to our neighbour. As we give, God blesses us by drawing us deeper into his mission to forgive and save.

Giving also helps us prioritise what is truly important and discourages us from laying up treasures on earth (See Matthew 6:19–20).

The impressive thing about the gifts I mentioned at the beginning is not their magnitude, but rather that they were given so that others could receive God’s grace through the ministry of the gospel. The gifts were inspired by the act of a generous God who did not hold back his own Son but willingly gave him up that we might have life in his name.

How are your gifts blessing others, so that they may know the hope to which you have been called?

The answer may be apparent to you, or perhaps not seen this side of eternity. But be encouraged that your giving, in response to Jesus’ gift to you, is being used by him for a work that will last for all eternity.

Pastor Matt Anker serves as Assistant to the Bishop – LCA International Mission.

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