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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Oct 24, 2013, 11:37 AM by Tracey Morris   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:38 AM ]

Author Brian Kluth tells this story:  "While ministering in Africa, I met a Christian worker who raised his six children on ten dollars a month.  He told me the story of how children in his village were going blind because of a disease that could be prevented with a medicine that only cost fifty cents.  He began to pray and ask God to send a rich person to their village to help give the money for the medicine, but no one ever came.  As he kept praying, the Lord told him he should give the money to buy the medicine.  But with six children and only a ten dollar a month salary, he could not see how he could do this.  But he and his family prayed and decided that every month they would buy the medicine to help one child.  He had been doing this for seven years and had saved 84 children from going blind.  And his family saw God meet all of their needs."

 There are a few things in this inspiring little story that I want to call your attention to.  First of all, the man did what he could.  He had wished he could help all of the children all at once, but he could not.  So he gave what he could, and he was able to help one at a time.  But think of the impact of that!  One child each month saved from a life of blindness!  There is an endless array of needs in the world, and even in our little community.  No matter how wealthy we are, or how much we give, it may seem like the impact is small.  But we can help one at a time.

 Secondly, even the little bit the man did give was a sacrifice.  God had blessed him with a family to support, but he felt called to help others even beyond his family circle, and was willing to make the sacrifice to do so.

 Third, take note at how much can be done with so little.  The price of a cup of coffee can buy the medicine to save three children from a life without sight!  Our gifts given to do God's work in poor nations like Haiti can be such a huge blessing, and these gifts bear witness to the love of Christ that motivates those gifts. 

 November is Stewardship month at St. Paul's.  Our theme this year is "The Grace of Giving" and the theme verses are from II Corinthians 8:1-7.  In verse two Paul praises the Macedonian churches, saying "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity."  'Extreme poverty,' and yet 'joy and generosity'-- just like in the story I began with.  And then Paul adds, "They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability... giving themselves first to the Lord."

 Christian Stewardship is not just about giving money to the church.  It is that too, of course.  But at an even more basic level it is about creating a spirit of generosity in all of our decisions about all of our money and resources.  It all belongs to God, and God expects that we use what we have been given to share in his work.  And the more we do so, the more we find such generosity to be not a burden, but a blessing, to others and to ourselves-- 'the grace of giving,' as Paul describes it.

 --Pastor Leon