“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast
We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!
Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.
You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.
Pastor David’s Devotional for Wednesday, November 17, 2021 – “Give Often”
II Corinthians 8:13-14
13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality,
II Corinthians 9:7
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Throughout the Bible we read about the importance of giving. In my sermon last Sunday, I talked about why it is important to give: we are created in the image of a giving God, and we follow Jesus who gave everything that our lives be better. Giving is central to faithful living.
How has giving of your resources impacted your life?
One of the ways the Bible talks about giving is through the language of a tithe or giving 10% of what we have. It is easy to misunderstand tithing, thinking God is simply interested in what we do with 10% of our money. God is not only interested in 10% of what we have; God is interested in 100% of what we have! As Christians, 100% of our resources, including money, is to be invested in serving God. Allow me to explain. We are important to God; God loves us so much that Christ died for us. As such, part of serving God is caring for ourselves—people Christ died for. Likewise, God loves the people in our lives, and those for whom we share some responsibility. So, part of serving God is caring for the people in our lives. Much of our resources, our time and talents and money, go to the ministry of taking care of ourselves and the people in our lives.
The Biblical concept of a tithe simple recognizes that, while all of us carry responsibilities to care for ourselves and people we are close to, most of us can do more. And the biblical starting point for thinking about doing more is the tithe—most of us can contribute at least 10% of our income to ministry beyond caring for ourselves and the people for whom we are responsible. This makes sense and sounds simple. Where it becomes complicated is knowing what (as Paul says) a fair balance is.
When it comes to caring for ourselves, what resources are required? Where is the line beyond which we are investing too much in ourselves at the expense of what we would otherwise be able to do for others? There is no easy answer to this question, and how the question is answered can be very different depending upon context and station in life. Any thoughts? How much is too much? Too little? And what is needed to be able to answer these questions?
Likewise, caring for people in our lives is part of our ministry. I have a large family, and God expects me to use some of my resources to care for them in a way consistent with them being beloved children of God. So, how much of the resources God has entrusted to me rightfully belong to my family and their care? There is no easy answer to this question either, and (again) how the question is answered can be very different depending upon context and family situations and needs. Any thoughts? How can we know where the line is beyond which we are investing resources into people close to us at the expense of ministries we could be doing beyond our families? The biblical understanding of a tithe is a big help when it comes to wrestling with these questions. So too are St. Paul’s words in second Corinthians when he reminds us to maintain a fair balance—don’t give at the expense of meeting your needs or the needs of your family. Recognize that when all of us give, there are resources available for everyone to have what is needed.
When it comes to deciding to give, it is important to remember that the Church is God’s chosen way to be at work in this world. When the church is faithful in carrying out its purpose, people’s lives are transformed. Why do you give to Desert Spring?
John Wesley once said, “earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” How do you understand these words? For me, Wesley’s words remind me of the balance St. Paul spoke of. There is nothing wrong with earning as much as we can. The key is in spending only what is needed to care for ourselves and our family to have resources we can give to ministries beyond ourselves. I like to think of my giving as drawing the circle of care beyond myself and my family to include others. And I can draw that circle of care at least 10% bigger! How about you?
God bless you,
Podcast & Sermon Video Links
Stream The Wednesday Word Episode 15 by Desert Spring United Methodist Church – Las Vegas | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
“Give Often” Sermon Video