Fr. Phil Eberhart
Oct 27, 2019
We're in the third week of
"The Joy of Giving Up."
In broad terms, we've talked about God's ownership of everything we have! "Whose is it all, anyway? "
How do we say it? ...
All things come of Thee, O Lord, ... and of Thine own have we given Thee!
We're quick to say "it's all God's, " but the actions that follow on from that are a little harder to get to.
Last week we explored the nature and need for sacrifice...
For sacrificial giving. Giving that costs us something and that is acceptable to God. Our 'reasonable service of worship' Paul calls it in Romans 12:1.
The byline for our book, The Joy of Giving Up, by Rev. Dave Roseberry, is...
How giving to God... renews hearts, changes minds, and empowers ministry."
This morning I want to explore those features of giving with you.
Renewal of our hearts...
Transformation of our minds...
Empowerment for ministry.
I think we can safely say that we NEED to give. It is a moral and spiritual necessity! But why?
St. Augustine warned of a human tendency he called "curving in on yourself." It is something that individuals can do, something that churches and organizations can do, something that tribes and nations can do.
It is becoming 'self' obsessed.
Self-centered. We've developed it to a fine edge in our culture; we even have invented a new word for it in our day...
We have a 'selfie' culture ...
A selfie spirituality!
Our worship song is...
It's all about me!... not Jesus!
And all this is for me, for my glory and my fame!
Need I say more?
The antidote is giving, plain and simple.
As one writer put it, we're to "give what we cannot keep, in order to gain what can never be taken away from us!"
It's The "Treasure Principle" in the Bible. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!" Is your treasure here on earth, or is it stored up for you in heaven, where thieves and rust can't get to it? Great question!
So let me come back to our three outcomes of giving generously... of giving hilariously (that's the Greek word for "cheerful," by the way.)
When we are hilarious, generous givers...
1. Our Hearts are Renewed...
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!
Have you noticed that our hearts get attached to things... to stuff! We collect it. Sometimes we hoard it. There's TV shows about it.
Giving is the antidote. Let me say it again... Giving Is The Antidote!
Romans 12:1 ... present (give) yourselves as a living, sacrificial offering.
The very act of giving starts a renovation inside your heart. You are no longer the center of the universe. You have turned your eyes away from the mirrors... and looked to Jesus!
Where your treasure is there will your heart be also! It really works.
2. Our minds are transformed...
Do you know what transformation is?
The word that's used here and translated as 'transformation' is the word in Greek that we get the word 'metamorphosis' from. It's almost a direct transliteration from the Greek.
The Oxford dictionary simply says this...
a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
Don't let the world press you into its mold, but be [changed in form or nature into a completely different person, both naturally and supernaturally] be transformed by the renewing of your mind!!
You will think differently and then you will be ... differently.
Who you are and what you do will be different from the world around you because of a metamorphoses that God does by his power!
3. This transformation empowers ministry.
When it's no longer about me or no longer about us, whose it about. Jesus and others!
It's been said that the correct priority in life spells J O Y... In that order.
Jesus... Others... then You!
Paul writes the whole rest of the Roman letter as the outflow of those pivotal verses in 12:1-2.
Just listen to what happens...
This is excerpted from The Message from the rest of just chapter 12 in Romans...
> hold yourself in a sober regard...
"it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you."
> You are now members of one another...
"we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around."
> find your ministry out of that position in Christ and in the midst of His people
6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Friends, everything changes: Who we are: what we do: how we do it as it relates to others, both in the company of the church and in the day- to- day of our living, and moving and having our being!
This week there will be a letter coming to you and a worksheet / commitment sheet for your next year's estimated giving.
You can turn it in next Sunday or on Sunday, Nov 10th. We need them back, so we can look at budget for next year.
We're at a critical point again for the capital funds for our building. We got a great shot two weeks ago... over 11K came in in one Sunday offering. We're there again. This is crunch week. We're about to get about 150K in escrows back from the city and the banks, but we have to pay workers and for concrete this week. You can talk to Pam or Jody if you can help in specific ways or have good ideas. Pray, pray, pray.
God hasn't brought us this far to let us down.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the efectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen