“The Wednesday Word” Podcast & Devotional
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 October 26, 2022
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”
What do we believe about God? I began my sermon last Sunday with that question. There are lots of answers to the question. In the sermon I stated a few: God is One—One God—who is holy. God is the creator. God cares about creation and is involved in creation. God is Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is merciful and just. God is love—self giving love. Of course, God is much more. How do you answer the question? What do you believe about God?
I also asked what it means to be created in the image of God. Again, there are lots of answers to the question. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? How do you answer the question?
For me, part of the answer is love. God is love and we are created to be loving, or to live a life of self-giving love. One way I think about this is with the language of extravagant generosity. We are at our best as human beings when we are living a life of extravagant generosity. Of course, extravagant generosity means a lot of things as well. We can be giving of our time, our talents and abilities, our resources, our attention—you get the idea. We give of ourselves for others. We are at our best, living aligned with the very image of God, as we give of ourselves.
Jesus lived a life of self-giving love. Think about the stories of Jesus. Do you have a favorite story of Jesus demonstrating self-giving love? Which story and why?
Of course, the cross is one BIG answer to the question. And in the scripture for today, Jesus said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” For the first disciples the words literally meant “pick up a cross.” All but one was martyred. But that was a long time ago. What do these words mean to you? What does deny yourself mean? What does pick up your cross mean? These are difficult questions, but (for me) they are directly related to the life of extravagant generosity.
Living a life of extravagant generosity is not easy. There are many challenges we face. And there are many temptations to do otherwise as well. One challenge for me has to do with time. I am already busy. So how do we give more of my time? Of course, the challenge is not about time, not exactly. It is about priorities. How do I best use my time, so that I live a life of extravagant generosity? I wrestle with this question often. How about you? When it comes to living a life of extravagant generosity, what are some challenges you face?
There are temptations too. During my sermon last Sunday, I talked about the temptation to equate “more” with being happy. More does not equal happy. We know that. Yet how often do we think “if only I had more, then…” It is easy to do. It is especially easy to do when it comes to generosity—to think “if only I had more, then I could give.” If only I had more time or more money, then I could do so much more to help others. While that may be true, living a self-giving life is not something for the future, it is how we live regardless of how much we have or don’t have. In other words, if we wait until we have “enough” we will never get around to living the life of extravagant generosity and we will miss out on the happiness and peace that comes from living the life we were created to live.
So, as you think about living a life of extravagant generosity, what does it look like for you? (It will look different for each one of us.) What does extravagant generosity mean to you? How do you see extravagant generosity lived out in our church? What are some ways you are trying to give of yourself?
God bless you!