God Provides More Than Enough
As we head into the summer months and we do the things we love to do, remember that these are difficult months for Church Budgets and for all those we touch through our ministry. Similarly, Paul asks the Christians at Corinth to give an offering for the Christian people in Jerusalem who are living in extreme poverty. In his portion appeal he makes a case for a generous response. I invite you to read the following passage as a personal letter from God through Paul to you and to everyone at House of Prayer:
“Remember that the person who sows few seeds will have a small crop; the one who sows many seeds will have a large crop. You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly. And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause. As the scripture says: “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 (CAV)
In February I sent out a letter letting you know that we are not making the budget that was accepted by the congregation in January. Thank you to everyone that responded. To let you know, Monica and I increased our giving by nearly 100.00 per month. Although many people helped by increasing giving we continue to lag significantly behind our monthly spending, in April by nearly $7,000.
In Junior High, I went out for basketball. During one game, Glenn Fries who at 5’11” (our big man) was in the game as our center. During a timeout the coach said, “Albert, you take Glenn’s place.” Jim Albert, 4’6″, was dumbfounded and said, “You want me to take Glenn’s place?”
When people are asked to stretch in their giving, there are voices that cry out: “Who me?”; “No, I couldn’t do that!”; “We are not talented enough.”; “We don’t have much money.”; “We don’t have the leadership.”; “We’re too old or too young.”; “We can’t meet the budget we have.”; “If only we had more people.”; “If only we had more youth.”; “If only we could get some wealthy and talented members in our congregation.”
We have all thought similar thoughts. But in reality, these are the voices of people whose mindset has bought into the myth of scarcity. This myth generates fear and defines people as lacking. In response to this, here is what I believe.
First, God has given each of us at House of Prayer opportunities and abilities to join Jesus in loving the world . We are called to continue the work that Jesus began. God expects that the church will love mercy, do justly and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). Jesus says that we are to “love God” and to “love our neighbor” as ourselves and Jesus commissions us to go make disciples.
Every congregation and every person is called by God to enter into mission locally and globally. We do this at House of Prayer each week in our ministry and yet for some reason we are in danger of not paying our bills. In Paul’s letter, he offers the opportunity to respond to the needs of the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem. Can we do less?
Second, God provides all you need to do what God calls you to do. You have more than enough talent, leadership, imagination and money available. Consider and identify the assets God has entrusted to your care. God is extravagant with you. You can do far more than you ask or imagine.
A ‘more than enough’ perspective is Biblical. It is rooted in the confidence that God will provide. A congregation doing God’s work trusts God and generously sows seeds of love in the world. Again, recall what Paul wrote:
1. The more seeds you sow the greater the harvest. That is common sense.
2. God desires you to be a joyful giver. How do you know the joy of giving unless you give? God who is the ultimate giver finds great joy in giving.
3. And here is the clincher: “God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause”.
I invite you to live in God’s promises. I invite you to choose a ministry which calls upon the use of the gifts that have been entrusted to each of us at House of Prayer. See yourselves from God’s perspective not your own. When the coach put Jim Albert into the game, the coach was confident that Jim had the ability to do what needed to be done.
The more we trust God and join Jesus in being the hands, feet and voice that God employs to bring God’s love, hope, joy, peace and justice to the world, the more we will be living into the church we are called to be.
Thanks be to God!
– Pastor Dan