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“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Our generosity theme from week before last continues to speak to my heart and mind. I am reminded of John Wesley’s admonition: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” What great words to live by. As a pastor, I have privileged information concerning the hearts and minds of many people. I have seen and experienced generosity first hand. I would not be where I am today without the generosity of so many people. The churches I’ve served would not be where they are without the generosity of faithful members. When I served in Breckenridge, I stood at the bedside with a man as his wife drew her last breath. He said, “You know, 10% of her estate will go to the church and it is quite large. When my time comes, 10% of mine will too, although it is not as much as hers.” When I was appointed to FUMC Grandview, I began serving on a foundation that distributed as much as a hundred thousand a year—and that was just the interest from the legacy an elderly couple left the community. Just before I arrived in Grandview another estate left a little over a quarter of a million dollars to the church, which was used to pay off all debt and do some much needed repairs and upgrades. There have been many more examples such as this; many from generous people who asked not to be disclosed and others who just put it in the collection plate without saying a word.
Generosity is contagious. God modeled it by giving His only begotten Son. Jesus modeled it by giving Himself on the Cross for the atonement of sin. Those who understand the value of generosity want to share it too. Generosity in giving is not because the church needs to pay the electric bill, it is because it is how we express our love for our neighbor as we love our self. It is how we take hold of life that is really life as Paul shared with young Timothy. One of my greatest joys is when our financial secretary brings an envelope to me and asks, “How do I record this giving?” It is a giving envelope out of the pews. It has drawings all over it. It has a child’s name on it I can barely make out. Inside is one dollar. A parent or grandparent is teaching a small child about the joy of generosity. It brings back fond memories when my parents used to give me a quarter to put in the offering plate when it came by. It also brings back the memory of the day my parents told me that I was old enough to start giving on my own using my own money. I am already figuring how much I get to give to ward our Harvest Festival, bot h in items to sell and monetarily too. I love to give. I can’t help it.
Your Pastor & Friend, Harrell

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