Sunday, October 12, 2008

Radically Generous

All Nations Fellowship.

Our pastor is a good pastor, but I think today was the best sermon I've ever heard him preach. There were two points (paraphrasing). One--God takes care of His people. Two--God expects His people to take care of others.

How many times in the Bible do we have examples of God feeding His followers during times of famine and hardship (i.e. "financial" collapse of bible times)? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Then the Israelites during their 400 years of slavery to Egypt (onions and leeks); the Israelites during their time in the desert (manna and quail); taking Israelites to the promise land (land of milk and honey). The Lord even took care of them when they rejected Him. Moving into the new testament, God fed a crowd of 4,000 and 5000 after Jesus preached for days. He didn't want them to go away hungry! It's clear that God takes care of His people in times of hardship.

It's also clear that God expects us to care for others. God's people were called to tithe a special tithe in the Old Testament that was to be set aside for those in need of assistance. People were also to leave the edges of their fields unharvested so that the hungry could come into the fields and pull from the grains left behind. Early Christians took their responsibility to care for the orphan, widows, and aliens seriously. The better-off took care of the poor. A rich person would sell land so that the poor could be cared for.

Our pastor reminded us that we are to be "radically generous" today, just as God has been "radically generous" to His followers throughout history. God has sacrificed greatly in order to care for us, giving His son Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice. We are also to sacrifice for those that don't necessarily do anything to "deserve" our gift.

How many of us have tightened our purse strings since all of this has happened with the US economy? How many of us are in the frame of mind to stockpile, rather than give away? A lot of us. But we've got to stop it!!!!

In America (as our pastor said this morning) we might be worrying about whether we can pay our car payment, but precious few of us are really worried about whether we will have food for our children tomorrow! It is naive to think that the financial crisis in America and the Western World doesn't directly affect the millions and millions of hungry in the developing world.

I challenge you to think about how your family can be radically generous. Get your hands dirty! How can you FEED somebody? What can you do to literally FEED somebody tomorrow?

Eric and I have been praying about that this afternoon and feel that we are being called to a big project. Details to come as we pray, research, and decide the best way to approach the project!

Until it's time to announce our "big" plans, we will be looking at our own pantry this week. What do we not NEED? Do our bodies need meat more than once a day? No. Do we need sweets and so much pre-processed food? No. Do we need a bag of halloween candy? No. Do we need soda? No. All of those dollars NOT spent in the future are going to go directly to those that are truly hungry in our world.

What can you do to be radically generous? What can you do to be generous when the world tell says we should be stockpiling and saving away for ourselves? Can you go against "common sense" and give away your riches in order to become rich?



Mia's Mommy 11:03 PM  

Hey Anita, I just posted about this on my other blog. There's a book I suggest you read. Take the theology however, but it's a heart check. Really. It's called Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell. There's another book I love too called Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (Moving from Affluence to Generosity). It's an old book but it's been updated. It's by Rondald Sider. Both are really good reads, and put back into prospective the Christian's calling.

Laurel 11:54 PM  

GREAT post! I'll be interested to hear what your family is planning to do.

We are drastically cutting back right now, not because of the "financial crisis", but because we just lost 1/2 of our income. So, the money we aren't spending is because we don't have it any longer. But .... God is working, and we will continue to give generously.

mama of 13

Heather A. 10:08 AM  

Anita, you inspire me. Heather A

mary grace 1:43 PM  

Our nonprofit journey started with a similar notion a few years ago. I'll be praying as you follow God's leading. :-)