A MESSAGE FROM COREY WIDMER
This year, Faith Commitment Sunday is November 6. That Sunday morning in our services we’ll offer to God our giving commitments to the church for the coming year. This year we’ve chosen the phrase “The Gift of the Kingdom,” which comes from Luke 12:32, as our theme for Stewardship season.
As we have been slowly making our way through the book of Luke over the past year, we’ve been noting that Jesus is preoccupied with the Kingdom of God. To quote John Ortberg, “The gospel is not just the minimal entrance requirements to get into heaven.” No, according to Jesus, the gospel is the good news of God’s Kingdom breaking into the world. This is a Kingdom in which the proud are brought low, the humble are lifted high, the “insiders” are put out, and the “outsiders” are brought in. It is a Kingdom that turns our lives inside out and upside down, calling us to live differently in every conceivable way. Being a disciple is learning to live in the Kingdom of Jesus.
One particular aspect of the Kingdom that Jesus spends a lot of time talking about in the book of Luke is money. On the one hand, Jesus offers some severe warnings about money and wealth. He emphasizes that the love of money chokes out the seed of the gospel and keeps us from bearing fruit (Luke 8:14). On the other hand, Jesus suggests that money can now be a powerful resource for good because of our loyalty to him. When we are no longer enslaved to the need for wealth, we can use money to give generously to others and to use it strategically for the work of his Kingdom (Luke 12:33).
The basis for this new approach to money is grace. Jesus tells us that “the Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” The Kingdom is a gift, free of charge! That means on the one hand we can rest secure in the Father’s provision, knowing that all we really need is given by his generous grace. On the other hand, it means that because we have received such abundance from God, we can give freely and joyfully to his Kingdom work in the world. All our giving flows from grace.
Our challenge now is to meet the call set before us. We remember God’s faithfulness this past year, and the many years before, and we look forward to this next year. Please be in prayer for the Lord’s leading as to how you will support Third’s ministry in 2017. Our prayer is that each gift—no matter the size—will sustain and increase Third’s ministry and mission.