“You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”—II Corinthians 9:11
God worked last week, and he deserves all the praise for it.
Over the last few months, God has been faithfully bringing his people to the church for financial help. This is such an encouraging sign of God’s grace, since this is exactly the picture God gives us of the New Testament church (see Acts 2:42-47; 4:32, 34-35).
With that said, the needs have been substantial at times, which has caused us to be over budget in the area of benevolence. Taking the encouragement of Scripture to heart (Titus 3:14), last week during worship I made you aware of a new pressing financial need within our church. So, I made two simple requests.
- First, I asked you to give what you could—$5, $10, $20, etc.
- Second, with whatever you choose to give, do so with generosity and cheerfulness.
To God’s praise, that’s exactly what you did! We received $4,761 in giving toward benevolence alone last week, which more than meets our present need and helps replenish our deacon’s fund for other immediate needs. And dozens of you spoke with me at the door or e-mailed during the week, thanking the leadership of Cornerstone for going public with the need and calling upon the church to give generously and cheerfully. That’s really encouraging. Your sacrificial giving bears a distinct resemblance to the sacrifice of Christ, and for that I am deeply thankful (II Cor.8:8-9).
As you know, it’s often hard for us to admit needs, even though the Scripture tells us we are needy people. Your pressing need may be physical or spiritual. It may seem small or large. Regardless, whatever the need, bring it to your brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family in Christ, and families take care of one another.
In the last few years in America, we’ve seen the whole economic climate spiral. For some of us, this spiral meant we ate out less and maybe canceled our Netflix membership. For others, it meant we lost our job, house, and all our savings. None of us have been unscathed by the downturn.
But let’s be honest. Though the downturn did create problems, it often just revealed problems. What do I mean? You may not have realized how your sense of contentment and hope were tied to your bank balance until after the bank balance disappeared. That’s often the case. We do not realize how much we are possessed by the things of the world until those things start disappearing. Remember, God’s ways are higher than our ways. Our thinning bank accounts are almost certainly God’s way of teaching us to not set our hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides with everything to enjoy (I Tim.6:17).
In his wonderful little pamphlet, When the Money Runs Out, John Petty points us to four instructions in addressing the root of our problem underneath our financial worry and stress. He instructs us in four ways:
- Ask yourself whether you really want God-centered contentment
- Identify what you fear losing or what you believe you need for happiness
- When you notice you are discontented, ask God to forgive you for Jesus sake
- Cultivate a sense of the phenomenal wealth in Jesus Christ
These are great instructions. You may want to write these four simple points on an index card with a Bible verse for each one and keep them in your pocket or purse. Whatever the future holds, these words are true, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom.8:32) Yes, He most certainly will.