Summary: Stewarship - tihe - YOUR Money What should we give and what does God want?
The second most uncomfortable subject
Two Weeks ago we talked about the membership pledge and how it is only through the person of the church…“the body of Jesus Christ” that we will ever come close to the appearance of perfection. It is through the church that Christ lives in this world.
We looked at how Paul talked about the church as being like our physical bodies; they are made up of many unique and necessary parts.
In our pledge as members of a church (parts of the body) we promise to be involved in ministry in four ways, prayer, presence, gifts and service.
The first topic was prayer, and how we are to pray without ceasing.
We should be praying for ourselves and our families and that is just the beginning because there is a big world out there.
-There are children that are hungry or worse suffer with “curable” diseases.
-There are people suffering loss and helplessness from un-curable problems.
-There is a war going on and we hardly notice.
When a Virginia tech happens we should be talking about it with God.
Prayer for this world is the absolute minimum we have committed to give.
-- We also talked about presence.
Not just answering the roll at church but, being interactive. Using your gifts for the church, preaching, teaching, encouraging, and giving of ourselves.
Presence means involvement and the offering of your spiritual gifts for the health of the church.
I also reminded you that as a church member, we are all called to work together for the benefit of the Body of Christ…Not just a few people working together but we all join in the ministries of this local church and in a small but necessary way in the work of the general church.
The thing about our promise to be faithful is that it is not long before we can be over whelmed with what membership means.
We become overwhelmed when we realize how limited our resources are.
Even the resources of our whole church are tiny compared to the need just in our community.
None of us is likely to be able to solve the problems of our world. War, violence, theft, accidents. In facts, if we are at all honest, we really don’t do very well at solving our family problems and often not even personal issues.
When we open our eyes to the problems around us, it is easy to slow to a halt and just try to maintain what we have and forget about the things we cannot see or that we can ignore.
It is easy and even normal to think, “What difference can we really make anyway? “
You are absolutely right, neither you nor I or our church as a whole can do anything significant.
But, I heard a story that by Loren Eisley... (I lee)
I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean’s edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, far away motion. I saw a youth, bending and reaching and flailing arms, dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.
As I approached, I sadly realized that the youth was not dancing to the day, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night’s tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the youth the purpose of the effort. "The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves," the youth replied. "When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea."
As the youth explained, I surveyed the vast expanse of beach, stretching in both directions beyond my sight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the youth’s plan became clear to me and I countered, "But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference."
The youth paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, "I made a difference to that one."
I left the boy and went home, deep in thought of what the boy had said. I returned to the beach and spent the rest of the day helping the boy throw starfish in to the sea.
Even as people that claim to be Christians, we can be over whelmed.
It is all too easy to remember that we are expected to trust in God sometimes.
It is not perfection or ability or size of what we bring to God that can make a difference.