Sunday, April 24, 2016

Giving to the Lord

The morning broke chilly and grey, but inside the sanctuary the bright lights and lively warmth from our gathering church family. Brad welcomed us and signaled his message would be about money in a roundabout way by encouraging us to think about how God has blessed us, and how we in turn can be good stewards of those blessings.

Reminder: Saturday May 21 there will be a Rummage & Bake Sale Fund Raiser and Silent Auction. The event will be held at Grand Lake Town Hall/Community Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Contributions and volunteers welcome. Hosted by the NLCC Women for new church. 

Darlene ushered us into worship with a sensitive melody. Brad then read from Psalm 103 and invited us to sing a set of choruses. The ushers then gathered our tithes and offerings. After a time of prayer Pastor Brad presented the message.

Giving to the Lord

How many of you ever had the thought that it would be great to have lots of money when you grew up? How many thought that if you won the lottery you would be a truly good steward of that windfall?

It's interesting that people who do gain wealth are sometimes embarrassed by it. Its interesting that some people who have wealth don't even know it.

If you haven't experienced wanting to be wealthy, it would be unusual.

Paul addressed the matter of money in I Timothy 6:17-19
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

What is essential to grasp is that every blessing is a gift from God. Paul tells Timothy to warn rich people to not become arrogant about their well. And command them to be generous.

What is wealth? What does it mean to be rich? How much money would you need to consider yourself rich?

It's ironic that people who make 50K a year say, "If only I were making 75K." And when you have 100K you think 200K is what would make me wealthy. But the truth is, we're nearly all blind to the wealth we already have.

If you have kids and you can take them to the zoo, or to the library... or dentist... you are wealthy. Brad outlined things we do that are signals of our wealth compared to true impoverishment.

Solomon, the wealthiest man of his day, acknowledged that all his wealth was a gift from God.

If you make $33,000 a year you are in the top 1% in the world. If you are making over $80,000 then you're one of the top one-tenth of one percent in terms of the world's wealth.

Brad cited various signals that show we have tremendous wealth. Yet when we talk about our wealth we don't seem to feel it. But what Paul says our wealth is a gift from God, for our enjoyment. God doesn't want us to be embarrassed about these blessings.

But this wealth isn't just for us. We have been given this blessing to make a difference in the world.

Brad then shared Mark 10:17-31, the story of the rich young ruler.

Wealth has negative consequences. First, we tend to cease being dependent on God. Second, because of our wealth we can become more easily distracted because it gives us more opportunities to do things.

Jesus said, "To whom much is given, much is required."  And "Do not lay up treasures for yourselves."

Brad ended the service with a song, "I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God."

After the service we re-convened for our semi-annual congregational meeting.

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