Imitating God – Generosity……….

generosity 1

generosity 1I am so grateful for the Rev. Dr. Robert Stanley, who filled in for me Sunday after I became ill late Saturday.  I asked if he would be able to preach on the spiritual discipline of generosity, and with no notice whatsoever (I think we talked about 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening) he came and gave a fine message that many of you have already told me blessed you deeply.

It’s an important topic, and an important discipline to practice.  Most of us don’t know, instinctively, how to be generous.  We have to be taught, as little children, to share our toys and let others have a turn.  As we grow older we have to be taught to give.  Unfortunately, there are not many teachers in the school of giving!

Why do we give?  We give because God gives to us.  Why do we strive to give generously?  Because God gives to us in embarrassing abundance, overflowing our cups with grace and goodness and possibility and hope, with forgiveness bought at a very dear price; with new beginnings and fresh starts when we need them most.

We give because we NEED to give, to remind us that God is more important than our bank account or a bigger house or car or vacation or stuff for the kids  We need to give because giving teaches us that God keeps his word and provides for our needs when we do what he asks.  We need to give to increase our trust in God, and remind ourselves that we cannot ultimately take care of ourselves and MUST rely on Him.  We need to give to remind ourselves that nothing ever really belongs to us.  It all belongs to God, and the only thing we will ever have that is eternal is our relationship with God.

We need to give because God really does have a mission for His church, even in all its imperfections; even when fellow parishioners make us grind our teeth and make us mad and cause us to think of leaving.  That mission is of vital important to the church AND to the world.  God intends for his body, the church, to make a difference, for each other and for the world, and that takes resources.

We need to give our best and first, not our leftovers, because God is worth it.

And finally, we need to give because the rewards really are immeasurable, in this life and the next.  You can count on it.

Pastor Deborah

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