Whether it’s medical research or philanthropic data, we can see generosity as life-giving, but even beyond that, we can see that for the church to be the church, it has to be like Tabitha (Acts 9): devoted to generosity. In the Hebrew Bible, God’s prophets say the widow, the orphan, and the outcast should be cared for. In the New Testament, the church is the community of caring. We are at our best when we engage the life-giving practices of caring, sharing, and generosity.
Scripture is concerned about money at two basic levels: our relationship with money (and what it can provide); and how we use what moves through our sphere of influence toward advancing the principles of the Kingdom of God. Is our focus – as individuals and a church – on making ourselves more comfortable, or on making a difference in the world?
GENEROSITY : Holy Prodigality!
Isaiah 65: 17 – 25
It is easy to let uncertainty guide our thoughts. The prophets reminded the people of God’s constancy and faithfulness. Even in moments where we are unsure of our capacity to give, or even of the need to do so, remembering God’s presence and steadfastness shows us that we can be present, faithful, and steadfast for our community, and for generations to come.
- guest preacher : Rev Dr Nancy Pittman; Harvard Avenue member, and President of Phillips Theological Seminary
GENEROSITY : A Rogues’ Gallery
Luke 18: 9 – 14
theme verse: “…for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Lk 18:14)
‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ It’s a quick and easy saying, thrown out usually to remind us and others of how good we have it. But might we sometimes twist it a little to mean ‘Whew! Glad I’m not like THOSE people!’ How does our world’s constant state of comparisons, such a spirit of what-about-ism, interrupt our generous living? Where can we refocus our living and giving – to cultivate a spirit of generosity, and a life of gratitude?
GENEROSITY : That Get Up
Acts 9: 36 – 43
theme verse: “Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’” (Acts 9:40)
The people of Joppa cared for Tabitha – a woman of generosity and talent, and a model of faith. When she dies and they are distraught, they trust in Peter to be able to do something in their crisis. When it comes to giving, where do we place our trust? Do we trust our choices, our sources, our decisions? What do we need to get us up, moving, and changing the world?