As we continue the journey toward extravagant generosity together we are growing in our idea and plans for living as stewards of the body of Christ.
This is an awesome work we share. Let’s start with a check-up. Find your heartbeat (demonstrate how to find your pulse). Did everyone find a pulse? Sometimes we need to use other tools and instruments help us know what’s going on the inside.
We evaluate and understand our condition based on numbers on the devices. Glucose, Creatin, Cholesterol, Pressure, rates and even weight give us signals of how to live and become more healthy.
If we checked our spiritual pulse, what would we find? How would we check our spiritual health? Studying our SETWARDSHIP we will find how the numbers point to our spiritual health.
Today we will consider how Paul begins to address the subject of spiritual health.
Biblical Text: 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
While the idea richness has many meanings, the truth is that we in the United States are materially blessed when compared with the rest of the world’s population.
In 2009, when my 401k dropped along with everyone else, we started a campaign to fund retirement fund for retired ministers in 3rd-world countries. Each retiree would have a $200/year benefit. In most of the countries they would go from scraping together coins for food to being one of the most comfortable people in town. All while I was weary about loosing thousands from my excess.
Some of our lifestyle choices might not leave much margin, but the fact is, by most standards, we are extremely well off. It often seems that the more we have, the more we worry about keeping what we have and about getting more.
This is the first thing to measure: How much time and energy do we spend managing and worrying about money?
When that is the focus of our thoughts, expressing faith in God is more of a challenge.
Paul’s remedy is to put our faith in God. He suggests that we do good things, that we should be rich in good deeds, and that we be generous and willing to share.
Here is another measure: How many good deeds have you done this week? Taylor Moncrieff, Randy and Wanda’s daughter, so one of those appears from folks who had an ill child, she took them food because she empathized if her family was in a similar situation, she would hope someone like herself would care.. This a good deed rich in spirit!
Today I ask you to share two things we love about our church? Take 2 minutes. If you see someone alone get up and move over to them. [Name a few aloud]
Second, where we see Jesus in our church. Take 2 minutes to both tell and listen to at least one other person. [Name a few aloud after]
These are the ways we do good as a church and of how very rich we are in good deeds. Our budget is about 400,000 and our debt is over 600,000 and our unbudgeted mission around 100,000 and we have at least 100,000 in repairs unbudgeted. $1.2M
To be the Body of Christ calls for using our wealth for God instead of ourselves alone. God call us to do good works for the Boyd of Christ instead of for ourselves. When we give God our gifts and do God’s good work, we are blessed and our spirit grows, matures and knows joy, peace, power and grace.
Then Paul says that there is a difference between just living in our culture and living a Christian life—what Paul calls “truly living.”
Robert Schnase, author of the daily devotional Practicing Extravagant Generosity, recalls one spring when he saw various birds preparing to build their nests. He writes,
The notion of building nests is often used as a metaphor to describe people successfully providing for their own comforts. If someone arrives at a career position of some ease and security, friends say, “You’ve built yourself quite a nest for yourself here!” . . . The word nest often connotes shelter, coziness, homelike, comfortable.
In actual fact, the nests which birds build are not for the birds who build them, but for their young, for the next generation, for the future of the species. The hours of carrying straw, sticks, and mud; the days of defensive watchfulness; and the weeks of endless feeding are all for the benefit of the new ones, the young, the future.
Now consider “nests” we build in our churches. The buildings, programs, ministries, job descriptions, and services we build—are they for our own comfort and coziness? Or are they to further the faith and provide for future generations? Does our giving serve us and our needs or serve God by serving the mission of the church to reach new people? Vibrant, fruitful congregations focus as much energy, prayer, and planning on those who are outside the congregation as they do on those who are already active in the congregation. (pp. 14–15)
There is much to love about our church, and we don’t celebrate those things enough. I invite you to join this time of celebration in the next few weeks.
One thing you can do is prayerful receive a letter from our Stewardship Campaign Chair, Keith Fortson. He will be asking you to bring a measuring device, a pledge card, identifying a measure of your prayer, your faith and the fruit of your spiritual growth.
Come next week prepared to share and to celebrate.
If you don’t receive a pledge card during this week, let us know. We do not want to leave anyone out of this opportunity to grow in spirit. Amen.