With his oft-repeated statement, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Jesus was not stating a rule, but an important, inner spiritual reality:  that we live with greatest integrity when our outward actions reflect our inward values, especially when our financial actions reflect our hearts deepest yearnings. As you consider the financial portion of your Giving Estimate for 2016, follow these six simple steps to arrive at a decision that bests matches your outer giving to your heart’s priorities:

1.  Pray for Guidance and Offer Thanks to God. This is the most important step. Repeat it as often as necessary.

2.  Learn about your financial priorities.

  • Examine your income and expenses. Print them out by category for the last 12 months.
    • Think about them in terms of fixed and flexible.
    • What percentage of your income is charitable giving?
  • Reflect and pray. Compare your charitablegivingtothe whole of your flexible expenses.
    • What does this tell you about your de facto spending priorities?

3.  Learn about our 2016 Budget. (click here for Budget 2016)

  • Review the budget scenarios.
  • Reflect and pray about the priorities represented.

4.  Reflect on your current level of giving to St. Nicholas Church.

  • Examine the current amount you give to St. Nick’s.
    • Write down the total you will give St. Nick’s by the end of the current year (If unsure, check your most Giving Statement or contact the Treasurer).
  • Calculate your giving percentage for St. Nick’s.
  • Add 1% and Recalculate. Or adjust downward if your circumstances require.
    • Write down this amount and compare it to the previous amount.

5.  Discern. Prayerfully ask yourself how you feel about this number in proportion…

  • to the importance of God in your life and your gratitude for all God has given you?
  • to the importance of your church community in your life?
  • to the other ways you spend money?

6.  Decide. Continue to offer your decision-making process up to God, then ask yourself:

  • Do I feel at peace with the relationship between what I give and what I value?
  • If you don’t feel at peace, repeat steps 4 through 6 until you do.
  • If you do feel at peace, complete and submit your 2016 Giving Estimate by Dec. 6.

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