This Sunday is the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. This date has become so ingrained in our minds that we don’t even have to say anything else but 9/11 and pretty much every one knows what we’re talking about. As we approach 9/11/2016 my mind runs back to all the first responders and others who gave of themselves and risked everything to come to the aid of others. It seems their generosity of spirit and efforts was “baked in the cake,” so to speak, of who they were. This should also be true of the followers of Jesus.
At Covenant our vision is to come to the aid of others by “Offering Hope + Showing Faithfulness + Sharing Joy.” Is our generosity of spirit and resources “baked into the cake” of our commitment to our vision and mission? In Leviticus 19:9-10, the scriptures offer an example of how generosity should be “baked into the cake” for those who loved God. It says “When you harvest your land’s produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don’t gather up every remaining bit of your harvest. Also do not pick your vineyard clean or gather up all the grapes that have fallen there. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the Lord your God.” The poor and the strangers in Israel knew they could always find something to eat in the fields and orchards of those who loved God because God’s people were to share their bounty with those in need. They were to be thoughtful and liberal to those who were “down on their luck.” Generosity was an essential part of being a true follower of God. It was just “baked into the cake” of who they were.
Like those the ancient scriptures tell us about as well as those first responders of 9/11, we who love God and are followers of Jesus must take our generosity as seriously as we take God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance of us. It’s not all about us. The blessings of God that we experience comes that we might be a generous blessing to others. That’s why it is important to support the vision and ministry of Covenant with our time, talents and treasure.
Join us at Covenant in worship on this 9/11. We will be celebrating Marty Shoemake’s ministry as our Interim Music Director with a reception after worship. We will be sharing exciting news about generosity ministries to the poor and poor in spirit. And I’ll be preaching a sermon called “Covenant: The Generous Church.” The scriptural text for this sermon is “II Corinthians 8:1-8.”