We’ve been talking these past two weeks about how to be rich. One reason we took this approach is that we fight a culture that constantly bombards us with messages about money and how to spend it, how to think about it, a culture that is always trying to increase our desires for wealth.
Our faith has something valuable to say about how we handle our money, how we spend it, how we save it, how we give it. Can we do a better job of being rich? Of course. We can be rich in ways that please God and honors faith. We’ve talked about how we might trust in God who richly provides for us. We’ve talked about how a commitment to give first reorders our lives.
Jesus tells a parable about a successful, wealthy man who thinks he has it all under control and lives for himself and his financial dream. He misses something vital in understanding what God wants. He gives no attention to what God desires that will ultimately affect his life, his plans, his hopes and his faith. Suddenly his life is stopped short and his misplaced goals fail him.
After preaching on giving for many years, my sense is that giving is important, first because of what it does to us and for our faith. Generosity and biblical giving requires faithfulness, regularity in our giving, a trust in God that translates to a commitment of our financial lives. These are all qualities that shape, challenge and grow a living relationship to God. Does the church benefit? Of course. The church needs money to accomplish its mission and ministry. But what happens to us in the course of our giving can be a major part of how our faith becomes stronger, more helpful to us in the tough times and the good times, and how we learn to lean more on God.
Sunday, we’ll worship and offer our gifts, large and small, as we reflect on how being rich in God brings an abundance of blessings to us. Come and receive these with us!
Dr. Dave Summers
Senior Pastor, Paradise Valley UMC