Most Americans view Christmas as a “Season of Generosity.” Gifts are given; people give to organizations such as Salvation Army and United Way, not to mention family gifts as we celebrate Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of year. However, I pray our lives reflect a life where “We live to give.” To be generous 365 days in the year, not just a season, is God’s heart for his kids. This giving spirit comes from God’s generosity in giving us His Son. John 3:16.
This past Tuesday, I was visiting with one of the people who were serving voters in our mayoral run-off election since our church is one of the voting sites. I enjoyed this brief conversation. The person said, “I have enjoyed reading your brochures here at Heartland Vineyard Church and I don’t know of any church in the Cedar Valley that is doing more for our community than you. Thank you for loving our community.” I was blessed to hear someone from outside our church notice our heart to be generous.
Last Sunday, we received our Thanksgiving offering and committed all of it to purchase a mini-bus to help transport people to and from church that would not have transportation to get to church, Celebrate Recovery, and other ministries we offer. Every year, we give away three offerings: our Thanksgiving offering, Christmas Eve offering and Good Friday offering. Each Sunday, we receive an offering we call our “4 Corners Offering” that goes to help the needs of the poor locally, nationally and internationally. There are numerous verses that speak of living a life of generosity. Two verses in scripture have cemented our desire to be a generous church, especially to the needs of the poor.
When you reap the harvest of your land, don’t reap the corners of your field or gather the gleanings. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners. –Leviticus 23:22
All they [the Apostles in Jerusalem] asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I (Paul) had been eager to do. –Galatians 2.10
We do this for the following reasons:
- To reflect God’s heart for the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner (those who are unable to care for themselves because they lack the resources; this includes victims of natural disaster, famine, etc.)
- To communicate and train the hearts of our people to mirror God’s heart for the poor.
- To instill the habit of generosity for our people and create an easy on ramp for guests to participate in worshipful giving.
I want to say to Heartland Vineyard Church, I love you and am proud to be one of your pastors. You are living a life of giving. May the Lord Himself pour out for you blessings you will not be able to contain.