Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Devotion 12.8.16

In the old Lutheran hymnal, The Offering always followed the sermon, and the italicized (if my memory serves me correctly) emphasis after the title was "given out of response to God's love," or some such derivative of that line.  We give not because of the tithe mentality, but rather we give as a response to God's love.  "We give thee but thine own, whatever the gift may be, all that we have is thine alone, a trust O Lord from thee" would also be a commonly sung response to the offering.  What we have is a trust from God, and it is all his.

Eugene Peterson talks about excellence in light of scripture, specifically Jeremiah and the excellence God requires of Jeremiah.  What interferes with that expectation?  Peterson notes that right at the start, Jeremiah pleads inadequacy.  "I'm not the right person for this," and/or "I'm not good enough." "Sovereign Lord," Jeremiah says, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." (1:6)  Peterson responds, "There is an enormous gap between what we think we can do and what God calls us to do. Our ideas of what we can do or want to do are trivial; God's ideas for us are grand."

What kind of service do we avoid?  Do we challenge our own giving during the offering, or a request of service, or other such kinds of things a church may need?  Don't have the time.... Don't have the skills.... Giving 'til it hurts already. 

In this season of preparation, we should examine our own lives and what we do with those lives when it comes to the response of what Christ gave, namely his life, suffering and death, and that he rose so that we may be acceptable before His Father.  That's true excellence from God the Father and Son so that we may have grace through faith. 

God says later to Jeremiah, "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you  and will rescue you." (1:8)  When God asks you to rise to the challenge, know that God is with you, and He will provide all you need to achieve excellence.

Hope Men's Ministry

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