United Methodist Church of Livonia, NY

Offering - An Act of Worship

2 Corinthians 9:6-11
6 What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop.
7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. 9 As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever
10 The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us.

Taxes, inflation, higher interest, rising grocery and fuel costs eat into our financial resources leaving us to feel there is not enough.  And then there are all the charitable requests we receive whether through the mail or at the check-out line. For many of us it is overwhelming. I get it.  And now your church is asking you to use your financial resources to support it ministries and mission to change the world.
Let me provide a Biblical perspective.
“God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace” (verse 8). “You will be made rich in every way” (verse 11). Paul, a traveling Christian preacher who owned, as far as we know, no real estate, no life insurance, and no retirement plan, no Apple products wrote those words! That does not mean it’s wrong for us to have any of those things. But it does challenge us to rethink how we define “rich” and “more than enough.”

As you prayerfully consider your giving to the Kingdom of God through the ministries of our church, I ask you to consider all the ways God’s shown great generosity toward you.  In a time of financial uncertainty it can be easy to lose track of that.  
A few verses after the above reading, Paul exclaimed, “Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). What reality or realities was he talking about when he used that phrase? When (if ever) have you received a gift from someone that “left you speechless,” that words couldn’t fully describe? How would you compare that kind of experience with God’s gift of which Paul spoke?
Your financial resources are a gift. God knows that and understands that. He also realizes that if we don’t use our financial resources well, they become a burden. I think we need to realize that we are indeed rich and be grateful when we have more than enough. A friend of mine had a bumper sticker on a Porsche saying, “He who has the most toys wins.”  No.  To win is to use our finances wisely in ways that lift up, heal others, and bring about God’s goodness in this world.  Supporting God’s work through our church really does make disciples and changes the world.
We are faced with many decisions on how to use our scarce financial resources.  Among all the options I would suggest there can be no greater investment you can make than the Kingdom of God.  

May this be your prayer.
Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the abundance you provide around me. May my heart sing as, out of your abundance, I seek to be your physical presence to the people in my world. Amen.
Pastor Hoyt