In my sermon on Sunday we talked about the immensity of the good news that is ours in Christ Jesus: the freedom we have as his followers; the new life that is ours when we choose to commit our hearts and lives to him; the forgiveness that gives us a fresh start over and over and over again; the welcome we experience at the foot of the cross no matter what we have been up to. One of the things I observed was that any response we ever make to this astonishing reality (and EVERYTHING we do in and through the church is a response to this astonishing reality) will never be enough to do justice to what has already been given to us. If God never did another thing for us as long as we live, what God has already done for us would be enough!
I wonder if you sensed the same disconnect I did, as our Lay Leader Gary McGrath presented to you the “Step Chart” laying out the pattern of our congregation’s giving, after that sermon? I came home thinking there must be many people in our midst who have not really reflected on the gifts of God that have been poured out through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose love is expressed through his body, the church. There must be many people who haven’t realized that a transformed life is possible in and through his love; many people who have not realized that one of the key ways we say “Thank you!” to God for his goodness and grace is by offering back our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness to further his work through the church.
During that talk Gary invited you to be in prayer about what percentage of your income God is calling you to commit to the ongoing ministries of the church in the coming year. We hope you will choose to at least step up one step on the chart or one percent of your income.
But now I know that BEFORE you go into prayer to ask God about that, you may need to spend some time (maybe a LOT Of time!) reflecting deeply on how God has touched and blessed your life, giving thanks for the many ways those blessings have been given in and through this wonderful church. Give thanks first. That’s an important theological principle. Then, with your heart overflowing with gratitude, ask God how you best respond to those gifts.
It’s a deeply spiritual matter.
Blessings and peace