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Just a Thought or Two: Give It Forward

October 13, 2017

Dear Friends,

Over these past 6 months, we’ve been experiencing The Story of the God who helps us step out in faith to do great and good things, even during very difficult times.

From Sarai in the Hebrew Bible to Lydia in the Christian testament, from Abram to Nehemiah to Paul to Timothy, we have reacquainted ourselves with the stories of our mothers and fathers in the faith. I am so thankful for what they did, for the sacrifices they made so we might be blessed with the truth and love of God today.

During our “Give—It—Forward” stewardship campaign month we invite you to remember how earlier generations stepped out in faith, giving generously and serving with joyful abandon so that we too might know God and live life fully. Will you let the love and sacrificial giving of earlier generations shape your giving so that our church will be strong enough to bless future generations?

Abraham and Sarah left their homeland spurred on—not just by the promise of a new homeland— but by the prospect that their faith-walk with God would bless countless numbers of people in the future. In Genesis 12 and 17, God tells Abraham and Sarah that they will be a blessing and ancestors “of many nations.” What they do, their willingness to trust and risk, will bless future generations. In fact, those blessed by their faith will be more numerous than the stars!

The Samaritan woman at the well returns to her village after meeting Jesus and takes a risk: she tells other people about the man who has changed her life. She doesn’t keep the good news of the life-changing living water of God’s love in Christ to herself—she shares it because sharing today makes tomorrow different!

Through his loving sacrifice, Jesus of Nazareth gave birth to the church. Those of us inside the church are only too aware of imperfections, and yet at its best, the church is a community which seasons the world with God’s truth and love. “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus says in Mt. 1:13. “You are the light of the world.” As I consider events close at home, on campus, in Houston, Puerto Rico, or Las Vegas, and around the world, I see a world, a world hungry for the kind of community, the kind of love, and the kind of truth a healthy, robust, serving church is all about!

When I think of our giving to First Methodist Church, I think of all those who came before us. They took a risk and gave the best of themselves so that the church would continue to serve and reach others. People with nearly nothing gave to construct a log cabin church. During the Depression, after fire destroyed the church building, people gave and worked so Christ’s church would be reborn on this corner. When you think of the saints who have gone before us, I know there are people you can name who blessed you by their friendship, faith, witness, joyful giving, and service. Who we are now is the product, in large part, of those who were committed to “Give—It—Forward” during earlier generations. What kind of a church, what kind of community and what kind of world are we building tomorrow through our giving today?

As we give, think of the children and the generations yet to come. When we give today, let us give with the kind of extraordinary reach that can touch and shape the future. What will future generations think of First Methodist, what will they think of us?

Will they see our sacrifice and how we lived, gave and served in our day so they might have life?

It’s easy to give in a way that almost takes care of our needs today. Yet, it is more joyful to give in a way that builds the church up so it will be strong, healthy, joyful, courageous and loving tomorrow.

God is inviting us to “Give—It—Forward. Our life today isn’t just about us and it isn’t just about today: our life today is about God, about others, and it’s about the future.

May our giving express our commitment to bless future generations!

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

First Methodist