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Summary: We often think of our giving as giving to Jesus, here are examples of people actually giving to Jesus and what we can learn from their gifts.

When people talk about their giving you will often hear them speak about giving to the church or giving to God and sometimes about their gift to Jesus. And those are all valid expressions. I do feel that we give to God through the church and that our giving is an expression of love and obedience to Jesus.

This is week 3 of “Money Month”, every year at Cornerstone I take a month to focus on stewardship.

We feel that this is the most responsible way for us to deal with our church finances. Instead of me preaching on money when there some type of financial crisis it’s part of our church calendar, so you don’t feel like you been ambushed.

We end the month with an opportunity for those who call Cornerstone their church home to participate in what is known as “Step Up Cornerstone”. That would be next Sunday and a card that looks like this, will be distributed to each person in the service and you will have the opportunity to fill it out. And that is what next year’s budget will be based on. You get to determine what type of church Cornerstone will be next year.

A couple of things. We don’t put anyone on the spot. I will not embarrass you in any way. This is an estimate of giving card, you are simply estimating what you will be able to give over the next 12 months. If something happens that you can’t do that, we just ask that you let us know so we can adjust our budget. Just as you would do with your household budget if you discovered that your income had changed.

But we really hope that everyone will be able to take part.

This year our theme is “Giving to the Giver” that is Giving to Jesus.

Week one was “The Giver” and we looked at what Jesus gives us. Himself, eternal life, abundant life, peace and rest. The list goes on, so we concluded that he gives us all that we have.

Last week we looked at “The Giver on Giving” and we learned a few things that Jesus taught about money. We Learned Why the Topic is so Important, We Learned to be Wise with What We’ve been Given, We Learned to be Responsible with What We’ve Been Given and we Learned to Trust the Giver.

This week we are looking at some of those who gave to the giver.

If you read through the gospels you can find several examples of where people presented various gifts to Jesus.

They weren’t nebulous, “I'm giving to the church so I'm giving these gifts to Jesus” they were actual gifts given by individuals to Jesus himself. And I think if we take a look at why other people gave to the Giver then we can see the underlying reasons why we should be giving to Jesus as well.

So, you see the assumption I'm making? And that is that each of us is already giving, I trust that isn’t a false. And so now we are just looking at some of the reasons that make our giving valid.

And so, the story begins in a small town outside of Jerusalem, a young woman from Nazareth and her new husband had welcomed into the world their first child and as the woman rests and recovers from the birth of her son, before beginning the long trip home, mysterious visitors appear at the house they are staying at.

It is a familiar story but one that we normally limit to the yuletide season and here we are three months late, or nine months early. We all know the story of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, but this part of the story had actually begun before Mary had any idea that she would deliver a child.

It is of course the story of the Magi, or Wise Men who came to visit the Christ child in the town of Bethlehem. While Matthew only tells us that they came from the east Scholars tell us that the Magi had probably began their journey in what was then known as Persia and is now known as Iran, if we pull up our trusty map we see here is Israel and over here at the very edge of the map is where their journey would have originated from, meaning their journey would have encompassed over a thousand miles.

If they were to arrive in Bethlehem in the narrow window of opportunity that would have presented itself while Mary and Joseph and the Christ child were actually there, we are told they would have to have left their home months in advance. Remember they were travelling through hostile terrain, possibly on camels, that’s how they are always pictured, but they may very well have made the journey on foot.

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