Faithful Participants in God’s Mission – 3 LSB #’s 901, 783, 782
Text – 1 Timothy 6:18
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous & ready to share.
We Are to Be Generous & Ready to Share
Every generation faces challenges & obstacles that appear insurmountable. No one before us has had to deal with the cultural issues on sex & gender that we are. No one before us has had to deal with the threat of global nuclear war that confronts us today. No one before us had to deal with the threat of fentanyl overdoses that our nation is experiencing now.
Human needs for the care of body & soul are huge. Cries for help multiply on every side. We live in a world that has many people living on the fringe. With each passing year it becomes harder to imagine that anyone can make a real difference. The demands on time, talents & treasures to get through each day leave people exhausted & worn out.
The result – it’s commonly a struggle to always be generous for others. Yet, in the 1st week of this series, the point was made that there are reasons to hope for light in our times of darkness. The chief reason, above all others, is that through the work of Jesus Christ, God has reconciled all people to Himself. Mankind & God have been reunited since The Fall.
You & I are ambassadors of this reconciliation. God is making his appeal through us. While we live in a period of constant change, we remain steadfast in the promise of Jesus Christ to be our anchor. We are not a people drifting aimlessly by the winds of the age. We are reconciled to God; we are not living in the darkness.
The darkness of this age, or any other, does not rule over us because Jesus Christ is our victory. We shine the light of salvation in a world of darkness. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp & put it under a basket, but on a stand, & it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works & give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV) Followers of Jesus will not walk away from the love of God, His mission, or His Word. They will be Faithful Participants in God’s Mission; serving as ambassadors of reconciliation in this broken world that is full of conflict.
In the 2nd week of this series, the Scripture reading invited us to remember that we are God’s fellow workers. 1 Corinthians 3 highlighted the job description of being a worker in His kingdom. By God’s grace, He desires to use us for His greater glory. The grace of our Creator is revealed when He uses ordinary people like you & me.
We are transformed by the Holy Spirit, who works through the means of grace – God’s Word & the Sacraments – to accomplish His mission. Our Savior honors us with the opportunity to join Him in His mission. The job description would be impossible if it were not for the resources that our Creator gives to us.
The work we do, sharing the reconciliation of God, is not a job from the past that’s been made obsolete by progress. The growth of industry & science do not replace the trust we have that God created us, the stars of heaven, the dry land & waters of the earth. Technology does not replace the promise that God desires to have a relationship of grace & mercy with each of us.
Today we do more than just survive the day or live in the past. Right now we share in the love of Jesus Christ. We live with confident hope that God is at work in our time. In the book of Esther, Mordecai tells her, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14b ESV)
Esther used her privilege as queen to speak to the king of Persia to save God’s covenant people. For such a time as this she was generous with her power & position. It is for such a time as this that you have been blessed by God to confront these times with faith in His mission. Have trust in God’s ability to see you through these times. Have confidence that He who called you to faith in Jesus Christ will carry you in times of stress & uncertainty. God provides us with everything we need to enjoy our participation in His mission. To each of you, God has provided gifts according to His design.
We have not all been given the same gifts. God chose to gift you with your particular blessings so you can be a unique blessing to others. According to how each of you has been gifted, the Holy Spirit calls to use those resources in service to His design. The Bible tells of people who gave from their blessings & in so doing encouraged others to be generous as well.
King David provided gifts for building the Temple that his son Solomon would build. When he gave the gift, he spoke not only of what he would give, but used the opportunity to invite others to also give for the building of the Temple. King David said:
“‘Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron & wood, as well as great quantities of onyx, other precious stones, costly jewels, & all kinds of fine stone & marble. Now then, who will follow my example & give offerings to the Lord today?’ Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals & captains of the army, & the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly.” (1 Chronicles 29:2, 5b-6 NLT)
Paul wrote to Timothy cautioning the rich not to be conceited, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches. Instead of placing our trust in that which can be here today, & gone tomorrow, Christians rely on God. It is He who cares for all our needs, just as He does the sparrow. Relying on God gives freedom to be generous with others because we trust in God.
During a time of drought & famine, Elijah went out of Israel to Zarephath. He met a widow & said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” (1 Kings 17:11b ESV) The woman feared that she did not have enough to be generous & ready to share, so she answered with her fears. Elijah replied:
“Do not fear; go & do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it & bring it to
me, & afterward make something for yourself & your son.” (1 Kings 17:13 ESV) That exchange shows a woman who found life impossible, so a man of God invited her to live with trust. Generosity & readiness to share allow the impossible moment to be redefined by God’s love. The drought & famine continued, but Elijah, the widow & her son knew they were not alone.
The Lord provided & equipped the widow with the ability to be generous & ready to share. The generosity that you & I share will not be the same, yet our Lord has also prepared opportunities for us to be generous. In Luke 21, Jesus saw the wealthy putting their gifts into the offering box & He saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. Jesus said:
“Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (21:3-4 ESV) The generosity of the woman outweighed the size of the gifts of the rich men.
For such a time as this you are rich in good works – generous, & ready to share. Love does not sit still. Love works. With God’s grace, our faithful giving & God’s mission become inseparable. He will use you, & your money, to equip the church to do the work of the great commission. The funding of the great commission comes through you.
The money you have, which comes from God, has many purposes. Use it to give glory to God. Care for your family, support people in need through acts of mercy, & importantly fund the mission of the church. Because of God’s power & wisdom, your giving is making an eternal difference in people’s lives. Do not be afraid. Amen.
Take my life & let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee; take my moments & my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands & let them move at the impulse of Thy love; take my feet & let them be swift & beautiful for Thee. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store; take myself, & I will be ever, only, all for Thee. Amen. LSB 783:1-2, 6.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet