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11-11-18 Sermon

Sermon November 11, 2018

 

Dear Heavenly Father, You have blessed us with the gift of life and all that is needed to sustain us from day to day. You revealed the depth of Your love for us, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Through our baptism, You have claimed us as children of Your kingdom, and heirs of eternal life. Through the power of your Holy Spirit move us to deeper faith, and empower us to live our lives in thanksgiving. We ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.

 

In general, we're rather cautious when it comes to talking about money. We’re down right defensive when it comes to talking about money in church. It becomes very uncomfortable when we realize that Jesus talked about money and its influence on our lives, more than he did about heaven. Nearly half of the parables are about handling money and possessions. In the four Gospels, one verses deal directly with the subject of money.

Jesus knew that stewardship and generosity are integral parts of being a disciple. The generosity of was imitated in the life of the widow. She gave all that she had; she held back nothing. Monetarily speaking her offering was insignificant, but symbolically her actions spoke volumes.The widow was not forced to give what she did. Her generous actions were in response to what God had done in her life, so she gave. Going back to the Greek translation it says she gave her whole life to God. She walked out of the temple with absolutely nothing, except her faith in God.

Jesus is the revelation of God the Father. God gave everything in the person of Jesus. He did not withhold one thing. In Jesus life, death, and resurrection, He demonstrated to us what it means to be generous.

Generosity in the lives of God's people has always been a way of expressing our "Thanks." When the Israelites of the Old Testament brought in their tithe—the first fruits, it was a way of saying, “Thank you," to the LORD God for all the ways He’d blessed them. Their offerings were used to care for others, and in so doing they thanked God for the manner in which He cared for them. That being said: how are we demonstrating the manner in which God has cared for us? As disciples of Jesus—are non-believers able to see--God's love and grace--when they see us?

The widow of our story had nothing. Because she had no man to provide for her, she was very limited in what she could do or experience. Yet her actions indicate that she felt that she was blessed. As a child of God, this widow responded with generosity. How much has God blessed each of us?

Even in the difficult times--suffering, loss, and pain, we still have so much more. We have a relationship with a living, loving, gracious, powerful God. We have this family of faith. We have resources at our disposal.

The ways we use our gifts of time, talents and treasure are the ways we say "Thank you," for the blessings God has poured into our lives, and for the new life we have in .

The widow in this story didn’t hold anything back. She gave all she had to The LORD. In doing so, she demonstrated her trust that God would provide for her. did not hold anything back as He hung on the cross as payment once and for all, for your sins and mine, to give us life forever in the Kingdom of God.

Many people say that they believe in and that God is caring for them. But generosity is a way that people demonstrate that they trust God to provide for them. Generosity is one of the ways that we live out our faith. As we give our tithes and offerings we declare that God is able and willing to provide us with everything we need. It’s a matter of faith and trust.

The stewardship of God's abundant blessings both transforms us and bears witness to the transformation that has taken place in our lives. The elements of stewardship: financial management, contentedness, simplicity, and generosity open us up to experience the joy of the LORD, the abundant life that is ours through the cross of CHRIST, and to the depth of what it means to be a disciple of CHRIST.

I pray that we, like the widow, will be able to love the LORD our God, with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul and all of our strength. And may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in CHRIST now and always. Amen.