by Clay Smith on April 21, 2023
Pentecost: What It Means and Why It Matters
May 23, 2023
When we gather for worship each Sunday morning, you may have noticed that we refer to our vision statement each week as we lead into the sermon:
“At Central Presbyterian Church, we seek the transformation of our lives, our communities and the world through the renewing work of Jesus Christ.”
The basic idea behind this vision statement is that for those of us who are in Christ, our Lord Jesus wants to transform us more and more into his image. He has saved us from our sins, and he calls each of us to be transformed more and more in our new life in him. This touches all aspects of our lives: our worship, our discipleship, our work, our relationships, our studies, our recreation…all aspects of our lives…even how we use our money.
As 2023 continues, I want to take this opportunity to share with you a few thoughts on what transformation looks like when it comes to our money and our generosity. We talk about generosity occasionally, and certainly at the end of each ministry year when so many of you rally with us to finish the year strong. But what does a transformed heart look like when it comes to generosity?
Transformation begins by remembering who we are: blood-bought children of the King of Kings, sinners saved by his mercy and grace, called to new life with him forever. When we look to the bloody cross, the empty tomb, and the occupied throne, it reminds us of who we are in Christ, and it empowers us to be joyful in all things – including our generosity:
“…for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.” (2 Corinthians 8:2-4)
The believers in Corinth demonstrated radical generosity in the face of circumstances that would ordinarily have made it easy to give less, if at all. What empowered them? Transformation. Their faith in the Lord Jesus and what he had done for them made giving a joy, even in the face of “extreme poverty.” They did not give out of duty or a sense of guilt. They begged for the chance to be part of what God was doing, because of what God had done for them.
As you consider consider how to partner with us financially in 2023, I invite you to take some dedicated time to prayerfully reflect on all that God has done for you in Christ. If you are already giving generously to God’s mission here, perhaps you will be inspired to give even more. If you have not been giving or are giving little to God’s mission here, I wonder how that might transform your perspective. Friends, God has given us an eternal inheritance in Christ. Like our brothers and sisters in Corinth centuries ago, let us look to that promise this year and joyfully commit to a radical generosity together. As we do, I pray that our lives, our communities, and the world will be transformed more and more by the renewing work of the Lord Jesus.
Want to learn more about how to grow in generosity? Visit www.centralpres.com/giving for resources.
To make a gift today, click HERE.
To make a 2023 pledge, click HERE.
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