From the Pastor's Study, April 2014
Saturday, March 22, was sale day for my brother's farm equipment. It was a day filled with emotion. I knew that any opportunity to farm again would be gone. Not that I had necessarily planned on it, but once one exits farming, it would be impossible to afford the machinery to get back into it. There was a sense of finality that my brother really was gone. Also, I was dealing with the anxiety of raising enough money to satisfy all of my brother's financial obligations. I tried to do the math in my head as the large equipment was sold. I knew it would be close. When all was said and done, there was money to pay off the farm loans and just enough remaining for Uncle Sam and the lawyer to fight over. That had been the focus of my prayers, and God provided. God gives in abundance.
I now feel God prodding me to respond to his goodness by giving back in some way, even if it is from my own pocket. That is the way God wants us to behave. As we have received in abundance, so we must give in abundance. I know that my brother was not able to give much to the church while he was alive. It would bring me great joy to know that I could give generously in his name following his death.
God has given to each of us in abundance. As children of a great inheritance, we must pass on what has been given to us. Unlike the money we might receive from our relatives, the inheritance God gives cannot be exhausted. Therefore, we do not have to worry about running out of what we give to others. And the truth is: the more we give the more we get back. What have we received? What do we offer to others? And what is returned? Grace. Love. Compassion. Forgiveness.
I was talking "church" with the receptionist of an insurance office. She stated that there was a big blow-up in the church she attended over something that the pastor did. She stated that she no longer attends.
I thought, "Isn’t that just like Christians, displaying to the world our inability to forgive, offer compassion, and love." How often do we expect others to be perfect people; and when they do make mistakes, we are unable to forgive. Rather, we wish they would just go away. What if God treated us like that when we make mistakes, say things we regret, or act out of misunderstandings?
I am an imperfect being, and everyday/continually I ask God to forgive me for what I have done wrong and for what I have failed to do. Because Jesus bore my sins on the cross, I know that I am forgiven. While I do not intentionally desire to sin, I know that God will continue to offer me forgiveness, compassion, love, grace. As a follower of Christ I know that he wants me to do the same. As you have received in abundance, please give in abundance. It is the only way the Kingdom will grow.
In Christ's love,
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9:00 AM Fellowship Time
9:15 AM Sunday School
10:30 AM Late Worship