A temple talk on Commitment during a capital funds campaign at Peace Lutheran Church, Bowling Green, Ohio
Abundance vs. Leftovers
Last Sunday Pastor Jerry Hoffman talked about abundance and scarcity, and that we need to think about giving out of abundance and not out of scarcity.
When we think about giving out of abundance we first of all need to think about what God has given us in his abundance. Out of his abundance, God created the world for us to be caretakers of, and what he created was good.
Again out of his abundance and love for us, he gave us his Son, Jesus, so we could be again, be one with him.
It was not the leftovers that God gave us, but the abundance.
Our commitment back to God should also be out of our abundance and not the leftovers. We give because God has first given to us.
There are many degrees of commitment and if we could put them on a scale of 1 to 10, who would come close to the 10?
Maybe Abraham would come close, as he was willing to sacrifice his son, Issac, back to God. And maybe Jesus's disciples would come close, since they left job, home, and family to be a part of Jesus's ministry. And maybe Paul who devoted his life to converting people to Christianity. Many more examples are in the Bible of people being committed to God, that make our commitments look more like a number one on the scale.
But thank goodness God doesn't measure us on a scale of 1 to 10. Out of his abundance and because of Christ, we all rate a number 10.
Instead we should ask ourselves if we are making our commitments with our abundance or are we making our commitments with the leftovers.
Each of us have already made commitments out of our abundance, but we may not think of them as such. When we agreed to make house payments, car payments, cable TV, cell phone, electric bill, etc., we made commitments.
These are commitments we made, and promised to pay, whenever those bills come due. These are commitments taken off the top of our paychecks, or the abundance of our paychecks, and not what was leftover at the end of the month.
Most of our expenses are really made for ourselves or for selfish reasons. But when you take a close look at our Vision Statement—Creating Christ-Connected Community—this Building Expansion Program is more for those still out there in the community that are searching. Searching for the answer of Christ they haven't yet found.
If the building expansion was only for my or our benefit, I would have a difficult time in giving to the program. But when we are focusing our building expansion on bringing others to Christ, we are truly making a commitment of our faith back to God.
We have the good news and we don't need to hoard it. Go and make disciples of all nations, was his command. Isn't that what we are to be about?
Peace can't be only my church, or our Church, but a church for all.
On Sept 11, each of us will be asked to make a commitment to our building expansion program with the focus on Creating Christ-Connected Community.
Hopefully these commitments will not be from the leftovers but be out of the abundance that we have.
Gene Nagel is the Treasurer of Peace Lutheran Church, Bowling Green, OH.
Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.