during my seminary days, my preaching professor used to say that there were three talks every sunday: the one the speaker planned, the one the speaker gave, and the one the people heard. that has been true more sundays than i care to remember. however, this past sunday wasn’t one of them. the text was 2 corinthians 8 & 9, and the topic was giving. in the context of our current series, the point was simple: christians give. so together we walked through these two really cool chapters and i shared with you frankly, honestly and humbly. when it was all said and done, i left the stage feeling that at least this week, i had given the talk i had planned. but is that the one you heard? many of you over the past few days have let me know that the answer to that question is yes.
so i just wanted to use the blog this week to do two things. the first is to say thanks. i can’t tell you how awesome it is to be a part of a group of people who would allow me to give the talk i gave. your response has been amazing, not only with your kind words of affirmation about the talk, but also as it affected your giving. sunday’s offering was terrific! thanks for responding so quickly to the need that was laid before you. on one hand, i’m not really surprised – that’s who you guys are. but since i know how hard the economy is hitting some of you, i guess i was surprised even so. all in all, i am so very thankful to God for his faithfulness, and to you for hearing him, for obeying him, and for stepping up so that we can continue to be a strong and vibrant church that is absolutely determined to see the kingdom of God expanded right where he has planted us.
the other thing i want to say this week is that while i don’t mind talking about money – it’s a very prevalent topic in the bible – i hope that i won’t have to lay out our needs in such detail very often. of course, you are always entitled to know where we stand financially. if you ever want to know how we’re doing, contact one of our leaders and we’ll be happy to let you know how things are going. but on sundays, i still want to be sure we never come across as a church that only seems to be asking for money. as each of us grows in our relationship with God, and in our obedience to him, i have no doubt that the necessary money will continue to come in, especially if we will all remember the truth we heard and the feelings we felt this past sunday.
before i wrap this up, as promised, here are the elements of a giving attitude as we looked at them sunday in paul’s letter to the corinthians, chapters 8 and 9.
followers of Jesus give:
1. eagerly (8:11-12)
2. proportionately to what they have (8:11-12)
3. with balance between their own needs and the needs of others (8:13-14)
4. willingly (9:5-7)
5. cheerfully, hilariously! (9:7)
6. trustingly (9:8-10)
and when we give, two things happen:
1. needs are met
2. God is glorified
again, thanks for stepping up. i’m glad that we all enjoyed the same one talk this week.
next week? well, we’ll just have to see…