Summary: A sermon from the Widow’s Mite concerning the "Summer Slump" all churches usually have to deal with.
I’m an adopted Cincinnati Reds fan.
I married a girl from Cincinnati and became a Reds fan as a result of that.
But here is the problem with the Reds…every season starts off full of hope and expectation, only to come crashing down painfully by the beginning of June…heard on radio (Cin vs. Texas…worst in MLB)
And for that reason the Reds have not been as far as the NLCS since 1995 and have not won a world series since 1990.
I guess it’s just a summer slump.
You know, those hazy-lazy days of summer where the only reason you want to be away from an air conditioner is if you are sitting on a beach some where.
It affects ball teams.
It affects businesses.
And it affects churches.
You know the signs, a decrease in attendance.
Followed by a down turn in giving.
And the slump is in full effect, and if we are not careful we can be disheartened and begin wondering, “What is wrong?”
I’ve got friends who are pastors and on staff at churches all around this country, and at some point during the months of June through August…they face the same thing.
I’m not saying that it is ok; but I am saying that we are not alone.
So, is it possible for us to avoid the “Summer Slump” and still enjoy the summer?
Yes it is.
By all means…take your vacations, we need those times away.
Hit the road and go some where…enjoy your free time.
Go visit Mickey and Donald…but don’t forget what is most important.
While we enjoy time a way, and time with our family and friends, or just time to do absolute nothing…we can’t forget our first love and our commitment to Him.
How can we do that? I think we can find the answer by looking at the story of the Widow’s Mite.
Read Mark 12:41-44 and pray.
This passage can be cross referenced to Luke 21:1-4.
Things were really heating up in the ministry of Jesus, His preaching and teaching ministry was at an all time high and the miracles that followed were nothing short of miraculous.
As a result He had captured the hearts of many who devoted themselves to His teachings…and also angered the establishment who saw Him as nothing more than a trouble maker and a threat to their religious and political dynasties.
His venture into the Temple in Mark 11 when he turned over the vendors and money changers tables only made the target on His back a little larger and more defined.
He was then challenged by the Sadducees in chapter 12 about the resurrection…the very doctrine that defines Christianity as we know it.
He went on to warn about Scribes and religious hypocrites, only to have an example of true devotion show up; a lowly widow giving her offering at the Temple.
It was this scene that Jesus used as a teaching moment for His disciples 2000 years ago and for us today.
It is this scene that we find 3 keys that can help ups avoid the “summer slump.
Let’s explore them this morning.
First of all…
1. Make Worship a Priority
This widow lady was giving an offering of every thing she had, and this is a part of the story that many of us know to be true…but we forget why she was giving the offering and where.
Jesus was stopping for a moment across from the Temple when this dear woman of faith showed up to make her offering…at the Temple.
The Temple was the center of life for the Hebrews; it was where the throne room of God can be found.
Every bit of religious activity for the Jews in the first century began and ended with the Temple.
Its main purpose though was for worship.
When the burnt offerings were made and sacrifices, they were an act of worship.
When the monetary offerings were made, it wasn’t simply out of obligation but out of devotion to their God whose covenant with Adam, Noah, Moses, and David gave them the hope of a Messiah.
And for this woman, her worship was not only important, but it was a priority.
I’m not sure what you picture in your mind when you read this text, because it isn’t real clear, but I imagine a weak and fragile older lady who was barely getting by according to anyone’s economy.
Her health was probably as poor as her pocketbook.
I can imagine that it was a chore for her to simply leave her home, yet she made her way to the temple to worship the Lord.
During the summer months, it’s easy for us to get lax in our church attendance.
There might be those days that we wake up and think a day at the lake would be the best thing for us.