God loves a cheerful giverWhere's the Faith? Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a story about a man who went on a journey. Before he left, the tough task master entrusted his possessions to three of his servants. To one, he gave five talents (a talent is around $1,000). To another, he gave two talents. And to the third, he gave one talent. He gave to each one the amount he expected them to be able to manage effectively.
The one with five talents invested it and earned five more talents. The one with two talents invested it and earned two more talents. But the one with just one talent hid it by burying it in the ground, until the master returned.
When the master came home he was pleased with the ones who made investments. He said to the first two, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.”
But he was angry with the one who, out of laziness and cowardice, did nothing with the money he was left to manage. The master took the one talent and gave it to the one who had managed his entrustment best. Then he cast out the unfaithful servant. This Parable of the Talents is also referred to as the Parable of the Hard Master – and I can see why.
Have you ever thought about all that God has given you? Have you seriously listed the things God has entrusted to you?
Let me ask you a question: What have you done with your own belongings and resources for the benefit of sharing God’s love? Would God say to you today, considering how you have used all you now have, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
It doesn’t matter the size of a synagogue/mosque/ church, even a small organization would have absolutely no financial stress if each family consistently applied the principles of stewardship … of developing the spiritual habit of the heart called giving.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth he said: “The one who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and the one who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as they have purposed in their heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
There was a serious economic problem in Jerusalem.
Congregations in other communities were moved to help their struggling sister-church. The Corinthian congregation had begun systematic collections for relief of the Jerusalem church. The Macedonians were moved, by the example of Corinth, to join in the collections for Jerusalem. However, their giving had fallen off due to problems in the Corinthian church – and now Paul was encouraging them to keep giving and to not give up.
There are seven principles we can learn from this portion of scripture. I’d like to share them with you.
Principle No. 1: Contribute according to your ability
Our ability to be good stewards is not measured by how much has been entrusted to us, but by how faithfully we manage what we have.
Principle No. 2: Give freely, without having to be coerced
The Macedonian believers didn’t ask, “How much must I give?” Instead, they asked themselves, “What can I give?”
Principle No. 3: Give cheerfully, not grudgingly
The word translated “cheerful” in 2 Corinthians 9:7 is hilarious – from which we get our word “hilarious”.
Principle No. 4: Give as part of a community of believers
The hearts of the Macedonians went out to people they never met.
Principle No. 5: We reap what we sow
Likewise, what we give to the church isn’t lost when it’s part of the mission and vision of sharing God’s inclusive love to “whosoever.”
Principle No. 6: God gives satisfaction to faithful managers of their assets.
Giving changes our mood, elevates serotonin and even boosts our immune system.
Principle No. 7: Giving is a form of worship and thanksgiving to God
The Macedonian stewardship began with God’s work in them.
Bring your children for our annual Trunk-n-Treat Oct.29, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Cars trunks will be decorated and over-flowing with candy and there will be games and hot dogs. This is a great family event – and it will be a fun time. (2633 Denver St.)
Rev. Dan Koeshall is the Senior Pastor at The Metropolitan Community Church (The Met) in San Diego, California, themetchurch.org.
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