2 Corinthians 8:7 But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
We've just completed a new stewardship campaign at our church called Consecration Sunday. A lot of hours, effort, and focus were put in by members of the Stewardship Team, along with prayers and presentations. It was a very upbeat method of helping the members of the congregation to think about not just what they give, but also how and why they give. I think most of the good folks bought into the aspect of honoring God with their financial commitment. There were no guilt trips or undue pressure put upon the people, so we’ll find out if this approach has worked in the weeks to come.
Most pastors, like myself, worry about giving, especially in uncertain economic times. Added to the burden is the sad fact that folks are beginning to adopt a laissez-faire attitude to church all across society. People say that they are spiritual and thankful to God, but it sometimes does not manifest itself into regular worship and giving. Taking God for granted has always been a part of the human condition; these days it appears as though more people are majoring in self and minoring in God, forgetting that we live as creatures in His Creation.
Giving money, giving our time, and giving our hearts to God shows others that our faith is actually real. Being a Christian is the hardest faith on the planet because it requires commitment, devotion, and loyalty to Christ above everything else. As human beings, we all have skills, pursuits, activities, and gifts that we excel in; the tough question that we should be asking ourselves this morning is this: do we also excel in giving?
Questions for personal reflection
What do I give to Christ through the church? Am I excelling in giving?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the greatest gift in the history of the world. For our sake, You left the riches of Heaven and became part of a poor refugee family on Earth. For our sake, You gave everything that You had, including Your precious life, on the Cross at Calvary. Without Your gift, we would be cut off from God forever. By Your blood, Your Church was established to continue Your mission on Earth. Challenge us today, so that we may cheerfully, faithfully, and exceedingly give to You. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make a comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to email@example.com.
Today’s drawing is one of John’s latest Nativity images called “Bethlehem Lullaby.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7459/10916628304_9c9bf3f08f_b.jpg