February 2014 Pastor's Ponderings

February 2014 Pastor's Ponderings

Image of Open Hands
Thank you for giving to the Lord!

Giving anything to anyone is a big step. To give is to understand that it is not all about “me.” Giving may grow out of concern for the needs of others outweighing our own, love, the joy of giving, gratitude, being content with what we have, and God working in our hearts.

As Christians we give from more than our wallets. We give our hearts to God to be shaped like his. We give time, concern, friendship, a listening ear, helpful hands, strong backs, as well as soft hearts to those in need. We speak up and stand up for those who are silenced.

To give our time, efforts, or possessions to God or for the sake of others often seems to subtract from what we have for ourselves. If we spend a couple hours helping our neighbor or buy a homeless person a meal, it is easy to think that the time is gone and the money has been spent. But that is not true. Instead it has been transformed. Sometimes we can quickly identify what it has been transformed into and other times, usually in the short term, we cannot. The time helping a neighbor could be transformed into a new friendship or perhaps result in being invited over for dinner. Sometimes the money we put in an offering plate or give to someone in need may not seem to have such direct rewards. If that is true, maybe we are too shallow in our thinking.

Giving is not an exchange such as paying the cashier at the grocery store for the items in our cart. It is not quid pro quo or scratching each others back. Ray Boltz, in the awesome song “Thank You” reflects upon the truth that the results of things that might seem small at the time may be revealed as priceless in the perspective of eternity (watch a video of this song at the bottom of the post). We are also prone to overlook how we, ourselves, are transformed as we give. Giving to the Lord is never without effect. The effect may just be beyond our perception or too close to notice.

I celebrate that OPC is a giving congregation. You give of yourselves in honest worship. You share your hearts and lives with each other. Your compassion for those in need outweighs your self-interest. You give your heart, soul, mind and strength. You give from your calendar, wallet, and talents. Last Sunday, thanks to the work of so many people, 192 meals were served at the Coalition for the Homeless. You are giving to relief efforts in Haiti as well as to those in need in Oviedo, and through denominational channels your giving makes a difference throughout the world.

I celebrate that thanks to your faithfulness we met our budgeted income for 2009, but I truly celebrate your heart for the Lord, lives submitted to Him, and the fruit that that bears as you give your lives to God and His service.

Your brother in Christ,