Summary: Some of our friends in other religions say that God sends another to do his dirty work. But the God I believe in comes himself, gives himself, out of love for us. A sermon on Trinity Sunday and Generosity
One day James wanted to do something special with his five year old son Jimmy. He asked “son, is there anything you’d like to do right now?” Jimmy said, “I want some McDonald French Fries.” His father said, “if that’s what my boy wants, then that’s what my boy gets.”
They got into the blue and white chevy truck and headed toward McDonald’s. Jimmy’s lips and tongue were silently moving as he could taste the fries before they even reached the store.
His Dad made the order, and Jimmy’s heart pounded when his Dad said make it a super size fry. James took the money out of his wallet to pay for the fries and a drink. Jimmy’s little teeth were ready to sink into those hot golden fries, before they made it to the table.
When they sat down, grace consisted of “God bless this food amen”, but it seemed like way too many words to Jimmy who was eager to delight himself with this huge blessing of French fries.
James was happy to see his little boy so happy over something so simple. He decided to join in the fun. He reached over to get a couple of Jimmy’s fries for himself.
To his surprise, his son quickly put his arms around his fries as though building a fort and pulled them toward himself and said, “No, these are mine.” His dad was in a state of shock for a moment. He could not believe what had happened.
James pulled back his hand and began to reflect about his son’s attitude toward the fries. Let’s walk together through the things that went through his mind. He was thinking, my son failed to realize that I am the source of those French fries.
At the counter, I was the one who gave the cashier the money from my wallet. I did not give him the size fry he was expecting, but something twice as big. Yet here he is talking about his French fries.
Not only was I the source of the French fries, he has forgotten that I at 6ft 1 and 195 lbs, have the power to take all the fries despite his little arms surrounding them as a fort. Or that if I wanted to, I could go back to the counter and bring him so many fries that he could never eat them all.
He also does not understand, “that I don’t need his French fries. I could go back to the counter and get as many fries as I wanted.”
As the Dad thought about it, one or two fries really would not have made much of a difference for him that day. What he wanted was for his son Jimmy, to invite him into the wonderful little world he had made possible for his son. He wanted his son to be willing to share the very blessing that he had provided. (1)
Yet imagine a very different situation - where a little child goes and takes their pocket money, and goes and buys a birthday present for their mum or their dad. The money of course came from their parents in the first place, but we can all see the joy on mum or dad’s face when they are given that small gift that doesn’t cost much but which cost the child a lot.
Today is our second Stewardship Sunday. Our first sermon two weeks ago looked at the generosity that is already going on here and how we celebrate that. This one, being Trinity Sunday looks at God’s giving of himself to us and how that can inspire us to give back.
But before I begin properly - you will remember that at the end of the first giving Sermon I asked you to pledge your safe amounts. Obviously, before you could make the big generous increases that you might want to give, you might need to talk to your wives or husbands; you might need to check your bank statements. You might want to pray. So I asked you to pledge the safe amount, the smaller amount that you could pledge there and then.
I want to say an enormous thank you to how you responded.Those of you who give weekly have so far increasedyour giving by £44.85 a week. Those of you who give monthly have increased your giving by £110 a month.
Obviously we are half way through the year, so we won't see all of this in 2015. But over a full year that means that you have pledged to increase your giving by a whopping £3,652.20.
Considering that this is only your "safe amounts" and that some (though not all) will in the end be able to pledge more, that is incredibly generous!
Thank you to everyone for your generosity.