With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I would like to start off by expressing our sincere gratitude to the church staff on behalf of the Elders and my family. Every one of them has been true rockstars this year, from financial planning and saving during the pandemic, to the creativity and flexibility of delivering the message of grace to all ages. Secondly, we want to say thank you to the church body for your continued giving to allow Heritage to continue to Transform Texarkana during 2020. Your generosity and reoccurring giving have truly changed lives.
This past Sunday, Pastor Matt began the 2 week series in Be Rich. When I saw the title for the week I had, I immediately thought, “Great, which way is Pastor Matt going to take this?” Well, leading into Thanksgiving, I was led exactly where I needed to. Admittedly, many of the myths and sayings he went over I have at one time believed, and even said. The theme with all of these is what you are doing “for God,” like God needs anything from us. If my ROI isn’t what I thought it should be, I must have done it wrong. Some of them were:
· You can’t out-give God
· If you don’t give, you’re robbing God
· God will get his money one way or another
· Give till it hurts
Conversely, the main passages this week (2 Cor 8 & 9, and 1Tim 6:17-19), were all the riches God has supplied us. in 2 Cor. 9:7-8, “Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”
These two verses are not cause-and-effect. Quite the opposite actually. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). When we are united and made alive/one with Christ, we are filled with His riches and grace. Moreover, the purpose of our hearts has changed. We now have a purpose that we didn’t have prior to salvation. Through our new identity in Christ, we are now wired to serve, give, and live for others. So the thought changes from “If I give, it will be returned to me by ____”, to the desire to give out of your abundance.
If he has richly and abundantly supplied us with all we need, we can then walk in the good deed/works that God has also prepared (Eph. 2:10). Why would he do this? So that we can participate and enjoy it!!
One final thought that came to me Sunday morning. I thoroughly enjoy spending time outdoors and at the deer lease. But planting food plots, placing stands, filling feeders, etc. does take time and work. However, this past Saturday I was able to take my son, and he was able to see his first deer from the stand. All the work had been done, everything had been prepared, but nothing brought more pleasure than to see him get there and enjoy that experience. And while we didn’t get a shot, he was so overjoyed that he couldn’t help but have me call his Uncle Randy and Papaw to tell them all about it on the trip home.
So from the Wood family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. May you have abundantly more Turkey than you ask for or need!