Outside Contemporary Worship and A Reflection on Thanks & Generosity
Greetings, Christ Church friends. As we near Thanksgiving and all the seasonal traditions to follow, all kinds of nostalgia and moods are awakened. Memories (sad and joyful), customs, and awkward family photos aside, thanks and giving come to mind. I give thanks for the ways God has provided financially, relationally, and spiritually for us and for our church. I think of all the times giving has felt like a risk and yet the personal outcome was having increased trust in God. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I can’t say I have achieved Pauline trust status, but I hope to someday. Paul arrived there by witnessing the consistent and trustworthy provision of God even while destitute or imprisoned. The result of his sometimes stumbling along yet still forging ahead obediently was a marvelous adventure with Jesus. We have the same God as Paul and the same opportunities to develop radical trust. From experience, I believe this kind of trust comes about through dutiful, often uncomfortable, action.
Occasionally, you hear a generosity story told with such sincerity and authenticity that it has the power to elicit real change. Last week we posted our treasurer, Mark Murphy’s, story of the impact generosity has had on his life. In this story Mark talks about forging ahead obediently even when there was no evidence of financial provision. It’ so compelling, I think it’s worth a second share.
Back to Thanksgiving, this time of year we also make our giving commitments for the year ahead. These commitments can feel like a stretch – they can feel uncomfortable. However, by being a blessing you will be blessed, in terms of provision but even more by seeing others blessed. This is an opportunity for God to remind us that he owns it all—every dime, every inch of creation. By giving, our trust in him grows beyond imagination because, “All things come of thee O Lord and of thine own, have we given thee.”
If you haven’t yet, will you take some time to talk as a family then pray about what God is calling you to give this year? You can fill out your 2021 Commitment online today, mail it in, or bring it to church with you on Sunday.
With sincere gratitude for you,