“So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
(2 Corinthians 9.5–8, ESV)
Imagine this letter being written for you. That is the reality of the whole of Scripture. It is God’s story for us, a history of Creation and Fall to New Life. That new life doesn’t come without a price. However, that price is not a price that we pay. That price is paid for us. It was paid upon the cross of Jesus Christ. That price was high, but with one purpose. Your redemption. The reality is that outside of believing in what Christ has done for you there is nothing that you must do for salvation. Though, that does not free us to do as we please. We don’t give for salvation nor out of obligation, but out of our joy and thanksgiving for the blessings, we have received.
Though stewardship is more than the monetary gifts that we bring, it is the most often focused upon in ministry. The reason for this is that ministry costs money. To keep up a building, staff, utilities, and other obligations cost money. So, most of the time we hear appeals for the monetary gifts. Another reality is that money is the easiest for most to give. Time is expensive. When we are younger, we may not fully understand that because we don’t often think about the true value of our time, but as we age, it becomes an even greater reality. We can not make more time.
The reason that we are called to give of our finances is to break its hold on us. Often we find that people misunderstand this though, including ministers. Jesus spoke of the need to put our financial cares into perspective when he said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21, ESV)
He goes on further in this explanation, but the central point is to have perspective. The average age of a person has not changed much throughout the history of our world. Most people live between 70—80 years and that statistic has been steady. If the legacy we live is based upon accumulating for self that is not much of a legacy to leave.
Now having money is not a bad thing and being wealthy is not in and of itself a sin. Money is amoral. It is about what one does with it. The same is true with our time and our talents. If it is all about self, that is where the issues arise. The calling for us as followers of Christ is to focus a portion of our giving to the congregation, this includes a tithe and other areas in which to serve the ministry. The reason for this is that we desire to promote the service of our congregation in our community. Then we look at other areas which we can serve and give outside that are within our passions. The goal, as followers of Christ, is not to acquire, but to serve. Our service is not for salvation, but for the betterment of our neighbor and to be Christ-bearers in the world. It is about the legacy of faith that we leave because our greatest treasure can not be determined by the portfolio of assets, but by the lives that have been changed in the saving faith of Christ.
WASHINGTON ROTARY CLUB CELEBRATING 100 YEARS 1919-2019
I'm in need of help on April 7, 2018, of Thrivent members to help the Thrivent Action team serve lunch at an educational workshop for a 501(3C) Community Housing Association members, 4-H junior leaders, FFA, Rotary members, etc..
This will be held at the Washington Community Building. On April 7, 2018, beginning at 10 AM EST. This will be a kick off for the Washington Rotary Club to begin its year-long 100th-anniversary celebration.
The Washington Rotary Club will be planting 30 apple trees for these individuals in honor of its 100 anniversary. These Community Housing members are to take care of The trees and harvest the fruit for their use. The 4-H Junior leaders and agriculture students will be working with these people on the care of the trees.
A two individual from Purdue University, and Jennifer Nettles, Horticulture/ Agriculture coordinator from Vincennes University will be the instructors for the two-session educational program teaching members of these organizations on the care and the harvesting of fresh fruit form the trees. The 4-H Junior leaders and agriculture students will be working with these people on the care of the trees along with the Purdue extension department.
After lunch, we will continue the educational program on, Appletree Grafting Program. It will cover, what can grafts do & why do we graft? The instructor will demonstrate grafting and tables will be available for participants to practice drafting. Rotary will have the disease resistance root stock & Scion for the grafts. Two Rotary committee members are Thrivent members.
Please talk to Bob Barron if you can help us with this activity, want additional information or would like to attend.
Spring will be here before we know it. To be honest, I am looking forward to this, not because I hate the cold but because I am tired of the illness that seems to be plaguing my family and many in the congregation and community. Personally, I know that much of this is the season of life that I am in with my family and not as much about the season of Winter. There are blessings and curses with every time we may find ourselves in life. This is for everyone.
The greatest thing to remember is that all of these things are only temporary. So, often an event can seem to be bringing the end of the world. A great piece of advice that I was once given in a difficult season was simply this, “This too shall pass.” It may not seem like much, but the reality is that no matter how painful, in the greater scheme of things most events that happen in our lives we will find recovery and comfort when we look to the Lord. It is true, though, difficult to comprehend when in the midst of great upheaval.
Now, this doesn’t mean, “It does not matter.” It means, “It does not matter the most.” When, in the midst of struggle, we turn to the Lord we can speak the words of Joseph to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20) When we cry out to God in any situation, we can find his hand at work, and in it, he can be glorified as we are restored.
Right now, as I sit and write this article, I’m reflecting on the ROUGH month that has been February. Tomorrow is the last day of the month, and our family has had someone sick EVERYDAY since the 12th. We’ve cycled through respiratory issues and then a quick, but mighty stomach bug. We’ve been a flurry of breathing treatments, blue tarps, portable trash buckets and Lysol – LOTS and LOTS of Lysol. And this has all been within our home. If I take a step outside of our own nuclear unit, I can see that we’ve experienced so much more sickness and loss within our body than we have in any of the months preceding it. Even the bigger world around us has gone through some devastating and terrible times in just the past few weeks. On a family, local and even global level, it has been an exhausting, painful month – one that could even be labeled hopeless at times. This past month has really given perspective into the darkness, sinfulness, and pain all around us. It’s made me think about the fact that if we had to bear the weight of the world on our own shoulders if we had even to bear the weight of our own pain, we would be crushed. Luckily, we don’t have to. We have a Savior that has walked in our world and felt the pain that naturally comes with living in this world full of sin. Then, He took it one step further. He did something that not even the best, the strongest or the most virtuous of us could ever do. He endured ALL of it. He was beaten and taunted and nailed to the cross. His body was TORTURED, and he was abandoned by even his closest friends. However, even more, harsh than all of that, he took on every last ounce of our pain and our sin – all of the sick, the ugly and the horrible things that separate us from God and he put them on himself. He then descended down into the pits of Hell, and he did it for each and every one of us. Now, if that’s where the story ended, it would be a tragically beautiful love story: a man giving up his life for the world; but there would be no hope it that. However, it is NOT the end of the story – His or ours. Because Jesus rose again. Jesus conquered death, He beat sin, and He gifted us with a chance. He gave us a chance to die to our sins every day and start fresh. Simply put, by dying and rising, Jesus gave us a chance to LIVE.