NOVEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER FROM PASTOR MEWS:
“Sharing Christ and Growing Disciples!”
“GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER”
As we sit in the afterglow of the 500th celebration of the Reformation, we will come to celebrate the 500th anniversary of a number of other books, teachings and publications that Dr. Luther and The Reformers wrote to bless the church. Luther never did write a summary of Christian beliefs, he did write specifically on the Bible’s teachings and the blessings of the crucified Christ to real life. In real life about the topic of money, Luther did say that the last thing to be converted was one’s pocket book.
54% of all the words Jesus spoke dealt one way or another way about money; its use, its management, its purpose, and its relation to faith and life. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there too is your heart.” Jesus looking into brothers’ hearts fighting over their inheritance, said, “Be on the lookout for greed, life does not consist in the abundance of money.” Jesus speaking through St. Paul said, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money isn’t evil, as the God is the giver and creator of all good things, money is a means of trade in which God provides for all. Jesus noted offerings given in the temple, praised the widower who gave all that she had. Her act is adored today and God blessed her.
The topic of money is a sensitive topic. We live in a materialistic culture and world. We also live in a society that promotes poor management of life’s resources. The vast majority of Americans are in serious debt. According to Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey if a person needed $5000 only 5% could get that without taking out a loan. The average American watches over 15,000 commercials a year in which it’s programmed in us that we are consumers, not dispensers. Living amongst you for 14 years in East Peoria, the only changes essentially to the eye in East Peoria are more places to spend and consume, like; Taco Bell, Costco, Target, Holiday Inn, Chick Filet, Petco and so forth.
God’s WORD does and the pastor and the church would not be faithful if we did not speak about godly financial stewardship. His Word, Jesus, still speaks about money and giving. God is the giver of all good things, that includes our money which is really our talent multiplied by our time. We simply give back what God blesses us with. God does love a cheerful giver and Jesus does praise a tithe which means to give 10% of one’s increase to God. God promises to provide that we do not need to worry as God Himself takes care of even the birds and lilies. Giving demonstrates faith and love toward God. One can give without loving, but one can’t truly love without giving as love is patient, kind and generous. We don’t give so that our Karma might improve, but as we were freely given to, we freely give. The Biblical teaching of giving is that of no strings attached, but pure love as Christ gave His life freely for us.
There may be times that the church needs to talk about money. We’re called to manage our church and its life. The Bible calls us to avoid and eliminate debt and to be as wise as foxes, but innocent like doves. My experience is that those opposed to hearing about giving money is that they feel guilty or are ignorant of Scriptures’ teaching on the subject. Offerings and gifts, no matter their size are always blessed by God whether expensive gold and jewels to adore the temple or a container of flour and oil to feed a stranger. Billy Graham speaking of God’s redeemed children was correct on this point, “God gave us two hands, one to receive and one to give.” In faith, we remember, “Tis better to give than receive.”