Stewardship Message – October 23, 2018

It’s quite impressive to consider all the love, service and giving generated by our church family. Just think of the hundreds of meals delivered to shut-ins, backpacks filled, visits to lonely, bereaved, and incapacitated, gifts of teaching, music, and communications of all sorts, mission trips, money given for operating budgets and numerous special projects, and child care. The list seems endless! We thus rejoice in singing a lovely hymn based on Isaiah 6:8, where the prophet states, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”

In our exuberant rejoicing, however, could it be that we may miss an important point? As we participate in these worthy activities, are our hearts and souls turned to God, and are our pursuits truly based on love and worship of God? Isaiah himself could not respond to God’s request for a spokesman, until God had removed the prophet’s wickedness, and his sin atoned (Isaiah 6:7). Only then could Isaiah offer himself to be sent.

A wealthy man once ran to Jesus, asking what he could do to gain eternal life (Matthew 19:16-22). He told Jesus that he had from youth kept the commandments strictly, so he asked what else he could possibly lack. Jesus acknowledged the rich man’s sincerity, but He recognized that the man had kept only the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law. Jesus then told the rich man to sell his possessions and follow Him. “Oh,” we respond upon reading this, “we cannot give up our living or all our family and civic responsibilities. We cannot give all.” This kind of thinking misses the point: with the rich man, as with us, Jesus was emphasizing the problem, which is the love and deep attachment to material things, and the strong tug this has on our hearts. What do we really love and trust in? What is the true motivation for all of our “charitable” activities?

In the case of Isaiah, the rich man, and with us, it is critical that we examine our faith and our motives as we prepare for this stewardship season. No, God is not asking us to give beyond what we are able, but rather that our giving decisions be based upon our love and trust in Him. Let us not miss the point in our giving!

Exir Brennan

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