Update on the food pantry: summer lunch program, walk-in cooler freezer, perishable food route, Christmas boxes, big announcement in November
Today we begin a series on Stewardship entitled the “Motion of Giving.”
Our passage today speaks about “Finding that Rhythm,” Proverbs 11:24-25
We have been created with a soul that worships. When we give to the Lord that is an act of worship, that is worship. We find in John 3:16 these words, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Out of His love he gave. So it follows that God has created us to be creatures that follow His example to give.
When we give we connect with God’s purpose for us. When we do the opposite and hoard resources, we find ourselves disconnected to God.
Example -When the people of Israel crossed over into the wilderness God began to provide food for them each morning in the form of manna. He instructed them the gather what was needed for each day. When they tried to collect more and keep it soured and went bad.” They tried to hoard.
We sing about giving. Jeremy Camp sings a song we are familiar with: â€œI will give you all my worship.
I will give, you all my worship
I will give, you all my praise
You alone, I long to worship
You alone, are worthy of my praise
So, how do we find that motion or rhythm of giving that God has created us for?
Our eyes must be open to where God is at work, and once we see it, we need to join him!
We can see the movement of God in the world, through brokenness healed, hearts and lives restored, people transformed, divine intervention, the Spiritâ€™s work of reconciling, patience, selflessness.
Still, it can be hard to see God at work because our focus is often on what we don’t have instead of what we do have, our problems, instead of our blessings. Our culture can easily woo us into this deceptive thinking. We are concerned about the pipeline and its flow of blessings that is to be pointed to us.
Even when Jesus walked the earth, he didn’t do everything himself. He called people to join him in God’s mission. When the disciples saw a crowd of hungry people and turned to Jesus for help, he said, “You feed them.” Certainly it was by his power those few loaves and fishes turned into a meal for thousands, but it was the disciples who did the work.
The decision to join God in His work, to serve him, to be a servant, to be a steward, means that we stop trying to point the pipe of blessings to us and start helping God distribute the blessings to others.
God says to us that good stewards are not those who are stuck trying to consume & hoard blessings, but good stewards are those who have chosen to partner with God by distributing those blessings. These are the people who recognize that we were made to give. And when the motion of giving is taking place we can begin to find the sweet spot of our spiritual lives.
I believe God wants us to excel at this. The parable of the talents makes that abundantly clear. The master gave his servants money and expected them to manage it wisely, even to turn a profit. Likewise, God gave us gifts and skills and talents and he expects us to use them to further his kingdom. To turn them outward, to use them to give.
We have been given gifts. There are different talents, different treasures, different personalities... and different degrees of ability exactly what we need to fulfill the mission God has given us: To some has been given the gift. God wants us to use what he has given us, to boldly pursue (engage, advance, push forward) in His mission that he has placed us.
Are you telling us to give everything away?
God is the author and creator of beauty and order; he crammed this world full of good things; he made us the crown of creation, caretakers of the earth â€” surely God wants us to enjoy these good things.
God loves us and created us to be heirs and even co-managers of his blessings. Unless God has called you to a lifestyle of poverty, having material blessing is not a sin. It’s a blessing! Be grateful for your good gifts, and enjoy them. But remember what they are and who’s they are; gifts of God!
In the parable of the talents, the servants task was to take care of the master’s property; likewise, God entrusts us to care for his world and the people in it. Our focus should be on joining that mission; the talents are simply the tools God gives us for that mission.
A servant got five talents, one got two, another got one. A steward is one who is not concerned about the pipe of blessings being pointed at him or her, but joining, partnering with God to distribute his blessing to those in need around us. That is the follow through motion of giving. That is purpose. That is our mission.
God did not give us our experiences and blessings as ends in themselves.Â Stan Toler mentions three examples:
God didn’t give Abraham a son so that old Abraham could show off his family photo album to his friends; God gave Abraham a son so that all nations could be blessed through him.
God didn’t save Moses from certain death so that he could be a prince of Egypt; God intended for Moses to use his influence to save the Israelites.
Jesus didn’t appear to Paul on the road to Damascus so Paul could have a religious high; Jesus came to tell Paul to change his ways because he had an assignment.
Our blessings are as much for us as it is for our neighbor in need. God’s love for you is equaled only by his love for that person who’s walking down the side of the road. God wants us to enjoy the good things he has created and prepared for us, but those blessing are the resources we are to use to bless others too, following through with the rhythm, the motion of giving.
We do know that giving is exactly what God expects of us. It is a reflection of who He is and how He works. He gives to us so that we can give to others. And it is through giving that we draw close to God. When we give generously out of the abundance God gives to us, we are blessed by a close sense of his presence. Giving is an act of worship.
What I want to ask you is, have you connected the circuit of inflow and outflow of God’s resources in your life?
Have you learned to give?
Are you are using the resources you’ve been given wisely?
Are you using them to grow more and to benefit others? Or do you believe that the resources you have are what is available and must be used only to benefit yourself or your family?
Homework: This week ask God to reveal to you a blessings in your life that you can share with a person He points out too you.