Sermons

Summary: What God wants most is "you"!

TITLE: They Gave Themselves

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

TOPICS: Total Consecration, Love Gives

INTRODUCTION

Illus: Thrifty Car Rental sponsors an annual Honeymoon Disasters Contest (www.honeymoondisasters.com), and they have received stories on everything from mudslides to Montezuma’s revenge.

For example, on their way to Nevada, Paul and Leah Lusk of Sugar City, Idaho, flipped their car into floodwaters. When they emerged, Paul, who had hit his head, couldn’t remember the accident, recognize his bride, or recall he’d just been married.

Then there is the story of Chris and Doug of Clovis, California, who honeymooned in Cancun, Mexico. They lounged by the pool, ate terrific seafood buffets, and went dancing. Back at the hotel, six-foot-three, 255-pound Doug playfully threw his bride on the bed. He fell and landed on her, braking two bones in her right leg. Three hours, one plate, and eight screws later, Chris was left with an $11,000 hospital bill that insurance wouldn’t cover.

Mae and Kyle of Richmond, Virginia, who were finalists in Thrifty’s contest last year, were forced to listen to the comedian on their cruise ship joke about the Titanic movie. Then the couple awoke to the horrible sound of crunching metal and the captain’s order to abandon ship. Their lifeboat made it to shore in St. Maarten, where the cruise line put them up at a nudist colony.

Citation: Susanne Hiller, "Honeymoons from Hell Revisited," National Post; (1-13-03); submitted by Kevin DeRaaf, Burlington, Ontario

This past Friday, many of you celebrated Valentine’s Day by sending cards and candy to someone you love and appreciate.

Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. There was an Emperor at that time by the name of Claudius II. Emperor Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers than those who were married, so he outlawed marriage for young men in hopes of building a stronger military. Valentine decided this decree wasn’t fair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius found out about Valentine’s actions he had him put to death.

Another legend has it that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. Before he was put to death he sent the first ’valentine’ himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it ’Your Valentine’, words still used on cards today.

Perhaps we’ll never know the true identity and story behind the man named St. Valentine, but this much is sure...Valentine’s Day ranks second only to Christmas in the number of greeting cards sent.

I find it interesting that the two biggest greeting card holidays are also both known for loving and giving.

I. Giving has always been an expression of loving.

The writer of Exodus informs readers that the Tabernacle was constructed from materials contributed by the sons of Israel who had just been released from Egyptian bondage. (See Exodus 25:2.) These gifts were to be given by "everyone whose heart stirred" them to give. (See Ex. 35:21.) The giving of the people was so liberal and abundant that Moses was forced to restrain the people from bringing more—"For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it". (See Ex. 36:6,7.)

Perhaps their liberality was motivated by gratitude. Maybe it was an expression of thankfulness for freedom from the tyranny and pain they had experienced under Egyptian bondage.

Conceivably, their liberality may have been a tithe of the abundant wealth they had received upon leaving with Egypt’s spoils. Everyone gave a portion of what they had plenty of.

On the other hand, their liberality may have been motivated by a loving response to being loved by God.

Whatever the reason, their gifts were "more than enough for all the work" (Ex. 36:7).

If the gift given reflects the value we place on the recipient, then these people were saying that God was extremely valuable to them. They, like Moses, were declaring that He meant more to them than the treasures of Egypt.

It’s amazing how things can change over the years. This same nation, although a different generation, is addressed by Malachi the prophet. In 1:6, he wrote to them saying…

"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name.

But you say, ’How have we despised Your name?’

"…when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the Lord of hosts.

"You say, ’How tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it," says the Lord of hosts, "and you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?" says the Lord.

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