The Sun Came Up
The sun came up this morning…the very morning of the day that you are reading this. Big deal.
Wait! How did I know that the sun would come up this morning? Because it comes up every morning. Wow! What a news flash! Okay, here’s another one. There is air for you and me to breath today. Yep. I could predict that one, too. “Wow.. this guy can really see the future,” you may be thinking. More than likely, your thoughts are more along the lines of why are you wasting your time reading seemingly senseless prattle.
I just mentioned two things that happen on an ongoing basis. They are pretty darned impressive things. You couldn’t make them happen. I couldn’t make them happen. No human being could make them happen. And there are so many more things going on continually that are just as spectacular, and taken for granted. Without them, we would not exist.
We live at the will of an awesome God. And, we get so used to everything that God does around us on a second-to-second basis, that we take little notice of it. All of it happens, without our help. God is doing pretty darned well without us.
This is an irritating time for some. There are numerous messages about giving money to the church. Pledge cards are due soon. If God is doing so well with creation, why does his church have to bother us for money? Just stop the messages and let us all go back to taking little notice of God at work in our lives. That is the point. God does not need us. He created us in order to enjoy a relationship with us. And we give him little notice. It is not unlike sitting at the breakfast table reading while God sits on the other side of the raised newspaper trying to strike up a conversation. He might as well not exist.
God is infinitely gracious. He gives and gives and gives. And he expects little in return. He expects: that we will notice him, that we will acknowledge his presence in our lives, that we will show appreciation for all that he provides, that we will work at having a relationship with him. Since the time that God first created humans, we haven’t done real well with any of that. There have been some who have done a better than most, but even the best still fall short.
We are privileged to be the creations of a God who is so approachable. Think about it! The Creator of everything welcomes us into his sacred space, his Church, to engage in interaction with him; thanksgiving, study, prayer, worship, almsgiving. He gives us life. He gives us labor to sustain that life. And he welcomes our coming before him to offer up a portion of the fruits of our labors to him to carry out his work. We are not worthy to come before him, yet he welcomes not only us but our meager gifts. Does the God who spoke all creation into being really need what little we can provide? No, but we need to give it, and generously, as an expression of our love for God.
At a practical, nuts and bolts level, God does provide for the church where we gather in fellowship and worship; where we come for healing; where we come to celebrate joyous events, such as wedding and Baptisms; where we share sorrow over loss; and from where we bury our departed loved ones. He provides for the church by giving each of us the ability to produce income, a portion of which we give to support his work, as God has planned. When we don’t give, when we don’t pass it on, God’s work doesn’t happen. God’s plan for the place where so much of meaning in our lives occurs is short-circuited.
Just as we take little notice that the sun came up today, we also conveniently forget our need to give to the God who enables us to give; who accepts our gifts. We get angry that we are reminded to give. Yet, if we weren’t reminded, many of us would neglect this important aspect of our relationship with God. Money is one of the things about which we have the most fear. Therefore, it is also where we need to exercise great faith.
As you consider your pledge for the coming year, take notice of just how awesome God is and how he has provided for you. “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.” (Psalm 96.8:)