Faith, thoughts

IMG_2489Today Andy started a new sermon series about generosity that probably couldn’t have been more timely. Listen here!
Lately, I feel God has brought to my heart the notion of contentment. It doesn’t seem that contentment would go hand-in-hand with generosity, but after today’s message — I realized a poignant connection between the two on the basis of merely being grateful.
Now, being grateful and being generous are not one in the same. The two are in fact quite different. Andy made the argument that God challenges us to engage both of these things in order to be content — both with what we have been given, and in the act of blessing others.
It all seems so simple, right?…. But when it really comes down to it — the notion of ‘first fruits giving’ (aka giving before your spend) — is an immense challenge to remain mindful of. To alleviate the stress and guilt which comes implicitly to most of us when considering first fruits giving, Andy began by expressing that the key to begin giving freely is realizing that we are truly rich.
He reminded us that what we have is exponentially more than what most people in the world have access to. And apart from that, (and although we should be thankful for our material comforts), we have Christ! We are rich in that we know a father who loves us deeply and paid the price for our sins. An indescribably abundant, sacrificial love.
Indeed, it does go against our very nature as selfish humans to admit to ourselves that our spiritual condition would enable us to be called rich. Rich is what we call the person whose means out-way our own, and our human lust for ‘stuff’ constantly lies to us telling us we can only be content once we have ______________________. (Insert object of your choosing).
Matthew said: Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Wow….truth!!
This is what got me thinking about contentment in correlation to generosity. Since becoming deeply intimate with financial stress due to the demands of being a student for what seems to be an entire lifetime along with a few other factors, I have subconsciously began placing weight on hypothetical ‘if I only had ________________’ statements. These conditions (when granted) became the permission for me to feel content. They started pervading my consciousness, telling me that once we became financially stable, or once we stopped being students, or once we know where we were going to settle, or once our dream careers commenced then we would and could be happy. What a dangerous path!
Andy cited Proverbs 18:11 — The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. This belief that we can build security through financial gain is the climate of our work-obsessed generation and society, and if we subscribe to this thought pattern — of course our will to bless others will be impeded by our own pursuit of false security.
To help obliterate broken thoughts about what hinges on our own contentment, Andy reminded us that in the Bible Jesus actually speaks more about money than he does Heaven or Hell in terms of a force that is actively competing for our soul… This sobering truth speaks volumes about our obsession with money, and our vulnerability to succumb to leaning on the acquisition of money to feel truly happy. If this is the condition to our contentment, how will we ever feel free to give?
This message was an awesome challenge to me, and I hope it encourages you to take joy in what you have been given and to give freely!

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