S (Scripture): Romans 15:23 But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you 24 when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints; 26 for Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share their resources with the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do this, and indeed they owe it to them; for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material things. 28 So, when I have completed this, and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will set out by way of you to Spain…
O (Observation): Paul is always on the move. He is graced with the blessing of being an apostle – always out on the frontier. And loving it, since this is his calling for the most part.
In his travels amongst places where he was establishing churches, he found that the churches in Macedonia and Achaia were eager to offer their resources to the churches in Rome. Paul was carrying this offering and wishing to go to Spain, but to visit the church in Rome and drop off this offering as part of what he hoped to be an epic journey to Spain.
The spiritual impact in the faith communities started and helped by Paul has led to material offerings and support to other churches.
A (Application): As a pastor, I have the blessing of sharing God’s generous spirit with the congregation I serve and with the wider community. Our spiritual blessing leads us to material generosity.
We have found that money follows ministry. We like to get caught up in scarcity, but our God is always surprising us in ways unimaginable. Where will the money come from? I don’t know. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t and we have to shift plans. But we are always discerning our way forward…always wondering what God is saying to us, and wondering what God wants us to do.
As we continue to wonder, we see fruit coming from our times of discernment. We have a Cub Scout group and a home school co-op using our building during the week. We host a quilting ministry, Bible study, worship, a Zumba class, a free exchange program, called Weecycle, which meets in our parking lot twice a month. We give to the wider church, at a rate of 8% of regular offerings, and we donate to various local ministries. We partner with other organizations to show love to our neighbor (as I wrote about in yesterday’s post).
We are blessed, and we want to share this blessing with others. We are not worthy, but for what we have, we give thanks. And in our discernment, we sense God calling us to pay forward the blessings we have received so that others might experience the same blessings. Sometimes that blessing is money, sometimes it is time, sometimes it is sharing a promotion of an event or such.
We move from spiritual to material. How about you?
P (Prayer): Lord, you are generous. Help us to be generous, too. Amen.