November 09, 2021 Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church

Extravagant Generosity by Pastor David Parker

Extravagant Generosity by Pastor David Parker

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can”

John Wesley

 

Beloved Friends,

 

The generous life is described by attributes such

as grateful, humble, selfless, content, sharing, caring, hopeful and concerned

(just to name a few). A person’s heart that has been shaped for generosity is

more likely to give out of every “account” found in their life. Their time,

talents, treasures, and testimonies are all arenas within which God calls us to

His benevolent, generous life.

 

John Wesley’s words of stewarding our life to

maximize “ALL” means, ways, places, times, and people for the greater good of

all is Heaven’s clarion call to stewardship (the planned and proactive

management and deployment of resources).

 

You and I will soon be receiving an opportunity to

make a pledge (“giving estimate”) for our 2022 operating budget and other

designated giving. This will help our Finance/Stewardship team to plan and

prepare our 2022 budget. It will be presented and ultimately adopted at our

regularly scheduled Church Council meeting on January 24, 2022, 7:00 pm. The

whole church is always welcome to attend these meetings.

 

At FUMC, one of our five chosen core values is extravagant

generosity. Generosity, in a Christian stewardship context, is all about the

desire (and deep satisfaction) that comes from investing our lives in the

things of God. Deploying our gifts for the Lord’s purposes is the will of the

Father. Doing those things with a great sense of excited joy, partnership, and

fulfilling adventure is the personally excited, “Extravagant Generosity”

portion.

 

As it turns out, extravagant generosity is much

more about the size of the heart than the size of the gift. It’s all about the

privilege of sharing in the Master’s ministry. Paul spoke of the Macedonian

Christians as a deeply joyful people who loved to be extravagant! “Their

overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2

Corinthians 8:2). What’s more, their commitment was neither casual nor

circumstantial. They didn’t wait for a need (or a campaign) to give to arise.

Paul reminds us, “Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the

privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people” (2 Corinthians 8:4).

This is extravagant generosity in its purest form.

 

Covid-19 global pandemic

has shaken our world and our church. Many noble saints have held the line and

sustained the ship through our perilous passage. Others have left our church

for singing congregations. This is a deep sadness for us all. We have “trimmed

the sails and battened down the hatches,” and we are not likely done making

significant adjustments to a new season of ministry. This is not the first time

this church has known a season of “tight financial pinch.” The Lord is calling

us all to work together, minister, pray, serve, and sacrifice

financially—together, that His kingdom ministry can continue through our church

family.

 

As we approach the coming year, the David Parker

family commits our support to a FIRST FRUITS lifestyle of giving our gifts and resources

to God. We believe that our full tithe belongs in our local church, just as the

Bible says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse (the

treasury room of the sanctuary), that there may be food in my house”

(Malachi 3:10). When everyone does that, it ensures that our operating budget will be

strong and uncompromised by designated giving. May God challenge us and

stretch us all in our faith and discipleship as together we seek to become

faithful disciples of Jesus Christ!

 

Excelling in this grace TOGETHER!