40 Day Walk With God — May 2, 2014Posted: May 2, 2014
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. They urgently begged us for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints. They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will.
There were times when I was growing up that I would want something that our family could not afford, and I would throw myself a pity party! Without exception, when I was in the deep blues of my party, my mother would tell me to go do something for someone else. Or she would simply have me do something for someone.
It never failed, when I stopped focusing on what I could not have and put my attention on what I could do or give, my mood would shift and I would soon forget whatever it was I wanted.
We are living in a time of transition. Church leaders everywhere feel the pressure to adapt and change so that we may offer Christ to a hurting world. We realize that we can no longer sustain the models of ministry that pretty much all of us grew up with and our temptation is to throw a pity party, and to complain about what we cannot do.
I am convinced that if we can focus and engage in reaching out to others we will find new life and new purpose. Paul reports in 2 Corinthians 8 1-5 that the churches in Macedonia, even though they were desperately poor and in the midst of fierce troubles, found great happiness in serving others and there was an outpouring of pure and generous gifts.
Let us find ways to engage our neighborhood and the world, so that we may know the joy of being faithful and fruitful congregations.
Lord, may we focus outward to the needs of the world around us, taking our eyes off of ourselves, so that we might see where you are calling us to go forth to serve others. In Christ’s holy name we pray. AMEN.
The Rev. Tom Hazelwood
Director of Connectional Ministries, Memphis Conference