Sometimes my "pulpit jokes" fall flat. People didn't really seem to get my "Zen attitude toward the money problems in this country--My retirement account started off with $50K, Zen it had $40K, Zen it had $30K, Zen. . ." Of course, figuring out how to talk about giving is tough in any circumstances--people think you've left off preaching and gone to meddling!!!
My scripture for this sermon was 2 Cor 8: 1-15. Paul was speaking to them of the importance of giving and was not apologizing for it. He was asking for excellence in their response to Christ.
In these tough economic times, it is tempting to be discouraged and to think we must hoard what we have for our own needs and moan about government spending etc. . .
Ran across another good scripture 1 Timothy 2: 1-4
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all of us to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
On July 4, 2012, we celebrated 236 years as The United States of America. A government by the people and for the people. This is an election year folks--another excellent reason to pray for those in authority!
Considering that Paul was up against Nero and his nefarious doings, it was great he could say pray for our rulers and authorities. (Remember what Nero did to Christians while Rome was burning?) Paul didn't give us exact instructions what to pray, but his list was broad enough to pray for any situation. Praying for the salvation for the rulers of the government that was oppressing them would help to restore peace to their first century lives.
Even in nations where Christians are not facing persecution today, everyone needs to pray for their leaders. Every day decisions are made that shape our lives for good or ill.
And as those lucky enough to wake up in America, in Tennessee, in Lenoir City, in clean and dry beds--let us say prayers of thanks for those great gifts we have been given. For those even luckier--to be raised or having been raised in a Christian home. We have much to be thankful for. For it has been written "To whom much has been given, much will be required."
Paul said our gifts will be measured by what has been given on our behalf. I've gotta work on that, how about you? Blessings! Kim