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1 Timothy 6: 17-19 “Give All You Can” 10/28/2018 Boardman UMC

Rev. Jerry W. Krueger Consecration Sunday

Generous and giving God, we are yours. We pray that this time of sharing, learning and teaching, moves us to more extravagant generosity, and more joy filled living and giving. In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.

Over the last weeks we’ve addressed the meaning of MONEY & WISDOM. We have spoken of earning income in a moral and ethical way, saving a portion of our earnings for future needs, and today we address giving. John Wesley, the Anglican priest, founder of Methodism in England in the late 1700’s, would say of money, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”

 

My Mom and Dad were both active in the life of their church, and community. I told you last week, my parents sat at the table to pay bills, always writing a check to St. Andrew’s UMC first. But giving is not just one dimensional, financial resources only.

 

Giving comes in many forms. Here are some examples I have witnessed in this church, requiring both your time and effort.

 

Last spring there was a mulching crew of 5 or 6 men who volunteered to unload a truck full of mulch, then spread it in the flower beds. I see volunteers wearing light turquoise colored shirts hauling furniture, bags of clothes, glassware, utensils, appliances, books, and people painstakingly pricing each item, as people count money and make change.

I see ushers, greeters at the doors, money counters on Monday mornings, folks who sing in our choir, and ladies who help serve and organize funeral meals, volunteers who provide sound for worship, people who provide meals for groups being trained in the church, those who sing at the Paisley and Blackburn Care facilities.

 

  1. know those who call on home bound members, members who serve on committees and do the careful work of Trustees, Staff Parish committee, Finance, Worship, Altar, Mission. I witness Confirmation teachers and Sunday school teachers, who give of their time and resources, and those who caringly lock up and open up the church when needed.

 

But hear me church, doing, action is to be coupled with our financial giving. One is NOT exclusive of the other.

It is a false belief to say, “I give my time at church, no financial support needed.” Just like financial giving should be coupled with some form of outreach or service, that benefits the Kingdom and this congregation.

 

John Wesley described “giving” as the farther end of earning and saving. Stewardship is a mix that is balance of earning, saving and giving. It is integral to our spiritual health and to how we view salvation.

 

It’s not about buying our way into heaven. You can’t do that. Giving is about giving sacrificially to God, in response to the gift of Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrews sacrificed animals, grain, wine, first fruits back to God as a sign of faithfulness. It was the tithe. The first tenth of the harvest, or livestock, or produce, or anything else brought into the “storehouse.”

 

In the New Testament the sacrifice, the price was paid for our sinful behavior by the Christ, so that what we give now, honors God. Some confuse Charity and Stewardship. Charity happens in a moment. Stewardship takes a lifetime.

 

Charity is given out of abundance. Stewardship changes financial priorities. Charity makes a difference for the receiver. Stewardship makes a difference for the giver. Charity is a response to immediate need. Stewardship is discipline that leads to spiritual maturity.

Hear this story from Luke 19: 1-10. (READ TEXT)

Zacchaeus experiences salvation, through his willingness to be humble and foolish in that tree, and in his extravagant response to Jesus’ invitation.

 

Salvation is how Jesus and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, bring humans into a right relationship, a balanced relationship with God. Salvation saves us from the eternal consequences of sin, and we receive eternal life.

 

Salvation is not EARNED through giving. You cannot give enough of anything, money, time, or resources to earn your salvation. However, Zacchaeus was energized to right living and being in relationship with God, by generous giving.

The story of the Widow and her Sacrifice is another parable Jesus used, to draw us to what giving means for us as Believers. (Luke 21: 1-4 READ this). She gave what she had, not out of wealth and abundance, not out of funds that she would not miss, but her giving cost her. She felt it.

What would it be like if we gave our money in front of others? Those with much might crow, perhaps boast, and swell up like a toad. But what of the ones who have little, but give it in a heartfelt and sacrificial way. Giving out of wealth is one thing, but giving generously out of our limited resources is another.

 

Our call to stewardship says, that for humanity, our stewardship involves the entirety of life. Being good stewards with our time. hjDo Not as Wesley says, fritter or trifle away our time. In our actions, making our work for God count. In relationships, having God through Jesus Christ, the Father, and Holy Spirit first, and in our finances, bringing the true first fruits of our earnings which come from God, into God’s storehouse.

 

Our lives, work, relationships, money are to be used to bring glory to God. When our giving is given in a sacrificial way, sacrifice invites us to understand that giving in this fashion, is a joyful, and positive aspect of stewardship.

 

Some see finances as opportunity to live large, to spend, to live in total comfort, while others see their resources that come from God as a way to change and transform the world, a bit at a time.

 

As we conclude today, I invite you to reflect where we have been. Speaking of Wisdom and Money, Earning all we can, saving all we can, and today giving all we can.

 

I ask that as we close this lesson today, you be prepared to bring your 2019 pledge card forward, and to drop it face down in the offering plate. After all have had an opportunity to place their cards in the plate, the ushers will come forward and we will receive our offering.

 

Would you bring your commitment card forward now, so that we may consecrate your giving to the holy work of God through Jesus Christ, the Father and the Spirit. Amen.