Saturday, August 27, 2016

Joyful Humility - Proverbs 25:6-7a, Luke 14:1, 7-14

Proverbs 25:6-7New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
    or stand in the place of the great;
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
    than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Luke 14:1, 7-14   New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

14 On one occasion when Jesus[a] was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Early in the presidential election process, back when we had a dozen or more in the primary process, one of the presidential candidates was asked during an interview on “Face the Nation” about having sat through a sermon the week before.  The sermon was about “humility.”

It was an interesting topic to raise because most candidates for office do not strike me as that humble.  After all, in order to win an election, you have to go out and tell everyone, CONVINCE everyone, that you are a great person and better than anyone on the ballot.

This candidate responded by saying, “I actually have much more humility than a lot of people would think.”

Which is funny in that we don’t think of humility as being something someone brags about.  It sounds like something a second grader would say, “I have more humility than you do!”

Humility - You either have it or you don’t, and if you do have it, others notice it.  You don’t have to tell people you have it.

Humility is, time and again, lifted up as a value for Christians.  It is one of the qualities that all of us should have and if we don’t have it, we should work on developing it.

It is interesting that one large company selling shoes and clothing online has set forth ten values for their company, and one of them is to be a humble company.  One would probably not think of humility as a goal for a corporation, but what they say on their web page is this: 

"Even though a ton of companies come to visit us to learn about how we do things, we always say, 'These are some things we're doing that are working, but what are you guys doing?' We always recognize that there's more to do."

Let’s think about this business of humility.

Let’s start by considering what humility is NOT.  It is not adopting the view that everyone else is better than I am and I am just a lowly, incompetent, unskilled, meaningless soul compared to the rest of the world.

Humility is not that at all, nor is humility allowing everyone in the world to walk all over us.

Humility starts with an accurate assessment of ourselves. 

It is not seeing ourselves better than we are – nor is it considering ourselves lower than we are.

The opposite of humility is not arrogance, but ignorance.

By that I mean that the opposite of humility is ignorance of who we are and who God is.

Humility is a modest and accurate view of one’s self.

It is a state of being a life-long learner, always ready to learn from others.

It is the ability to see the value of others as our equals – even if they have less education, less abilities, less power, less money, less “stuff.” 

Humility is the ability to see life as it really is and act appropriately. 

Most of all, it is the ability to live knowing that it is God who is really in charge.

We sing “Amazing Grace” often in our worship services. 

Remember the first verse?

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

A Christian view of the world is quite different from a secular world.  A secular world might say, “I have nothing to confess to God, I’ve never done anything wrong.”    There are even some faiths that believe that if one lives a good life, one is rewarded with an eternity in heaven.

But as Christians we acknowledge that none of us is good enough.  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We are completely dependent on God’s love and mercy because all of us have done a lot of wrong things! 

We all make mistakes, we are indeed sinners.  Left to our own devices, we will destroy the earth through our injustice and violence.  Without God’s help and guidance we will destroy everything. 

And very often when we think that we are perfect, something will happen to remind us that, “No, we are not.” 

It’s like our New Testament lesson.  If you think you are deserving of a place of honor at a banquet, how embarrassing it is to be told you have to move to a table in the corner. 

When you elevate yourself, someone is going to come along and knock you down a peg or two.

We are not perfect, and being humble gives us the insight to acknowledge our own shortcomings.

All of us are like this.

St Paul in his letter to the Romans acknowledged that even though he knew very well what God required, he often did just the opposite.

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7)

That is a pretty heavy challenge to bear, but we all bear it.  And it is a very accurate view of our human nature. 

We often do the things we don’t want to do, and we fail to do the things we should do.  We are not perfect.

This is the first step in developing humility – accepting one’s own sinfulness and acknowledging our dependence on God alone.

Take this a step further.

It is not only that we confess our failures, we must also acknowledge that any success we have in life is a gift from God.

There are no self made industrialists, self-made millionaires, self-made chefs, or writers, or scientists.  We are who we are, whether we admit it or not, we are who we because of the gifts God has given us.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers,” the writer makes a point that one’s success in life often comes from the things we have no control over at all – such as where we are born.

Our success is largely made up of the opportunities that come our way come from God alone. 

We might claim that we had the intellect and knew how to use it.

We might claim that we made the opportunities and took advantage of them.

But we can’t claim to have anything to do with where we were born. 

Gladwell says in his book that Bill Gates happened to be born into an affluent family.  He grew up near a university that gave him access and practice with computers.

Now if Gates had been born in Rwanda, he would not have had those opportunities and we would never have known of him.

Humility directs us towards a better understanding of ourselves.

When we understand that our successes are due to what God has given us, we lose the temptation to be arrogant.

And we become more thankful for all the God given opportunities, the God given talents, the God given skills, the God given motivation, and the God given birth.

Humility should surround us with thanksgiving. If it were not for God putting us here in Florida rather than Haiti, we would not have clean air, clean water, a good health care.

Humility should also dispel whatever sense of entitlement that some of us may have.  You see entitlement in the New Testament lesson when the person arrogantly sits in a place of honor and is asked to sit somewhere else. 

So humility is simply acknowledging that you are not perfect.  You have failed and therefore you are dependent on God.
And it is acknowledging that your successes are not your own, but are dependent on God.
The Heidelberg Catechism was written around 1559.  It is one of several statements of belief that have been embraced by the Presbyterian Church.  One of the questions is, “What is your only comfort in life and death?”
The answer in the catechism is this:  “That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ…”

Knowing who we are, and whose we are, begins our search for developing our sense of humility.

And now unto God the Father,
God the Son,
And God the Holy Spirit be ascribed all might, power, dominion and glory, today and forever, Amen.
Copyright 2016. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Call - Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.  

          Last week I was at a conference near Washington, DC.  On Sunday I had a choice of several churches to attend and decided on New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.

I wanted to go there because several years ago – I guess 10 or 15 years ago, I was offered an opportunity to go there and to serve as a pastor.

It is always difficult to be turned down for a job, but it is sometimes even harder to be the one turning down a job.

And some 10 to 15 years ago, I turned down the opportunity to serve the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.

It is just four blocks from the White House.

It was this church that President Eisenhower attended and on listening to a sermon from his pastor about the Pledge of Alligeance urged Congress, the very next day, to add the line, “one nation under God.”

It was this church that fought for Civil Rights and for abolitition of slavery.

It was here that Peter Marshall and many other famous pastors preached.

And it was here that Presidents have worshipped.  In fact, they still have the pew that Abraham Lincoln sat in.  All the other pews have been replaced with more comfortable, padded pews, but they have preserved Lincoln’s pew.  Back in his day, people had a reserved pew.  That was the way people supported a church financially.  Instead of a pledge card and tithing, they would pay for the use of a pew for a year at a time. 

When Presidents attend today, they are invited to sit on Lincoln’s pew.

Since President Obama was not there that Sunday, they invited me to sit in Lincoln’s pew. 

So there I was last week, thinking about the road not taken and the fact that a decade or more ago, I might have spent a few years in this church.

When the Pastor Nominating Committee invited me to accept a job there, I thanked them, but said I did not feel a sense of call to serve their church and wished them well as they continued to search for someone else.

In response, there was pure silence. 

It could not have been more than a few seconds, but to me it seemed uncomfortably long. 

Finally someone on the committee spoke up.

“Son, do you know who we are?  We are Abraham Lincoln’s Church.” 

I wanted to ask if he still attended.

I had the feeling that no one in his or her right mind would turn down a call to serve New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. 

I have told that story over the years and I’ve laughed about it and others have laughed about it, but there was something very serious going on there.

I think they were under the impression they were offering me a job.

No – together we were trying to seek God’s will.

You – here at Grace Covenant - never offered me a job here to be your pastor.  You CALLED me to be your pastor.  I had to agree that God had called me here.  You and I together, and also presbytery had to agree I had a call to come here.  My old presbytery had to agree that I was called here.  Even my former church members had to agree that I was called by God to come here.

A contract is simple – a CALL is complicated.  I don’t have a contract, I have a call.  And a call is a lot more complicated than a contract, and harder to get into and harder to get out of, and takes a lot more time to discern.

So – I never went to New York Avenue Presbyterian Church because I did not believe God called me to be there.

And a couple of decades later, I am here at this church as your pastor because God has called me to be here.

Now that term “Called by God” is a theological term.  We know pastors are called.  But let me tell you something else…. Each and every one of us is called by God.

And we are called to do different things.

How many here have been called at one time or other to be a pastor?

To be an elder?

To be a deacon?

How many have worked with youth?

How many have worked with Sunday School classes?

How many have worked in the music ministry of the church?

          Let’s think more broadly about how God calls us.  How many of you now, or in the past, have been a teacher in a public or private school?

          How many have served as nurses or doctors or other medical professional?

          We have so many who serve as Police, fire, ambulance, or other first responder.  How many of you are first responders?

          How many mothers and fathers here?

          How many aunts and uncles?

          How many of you have served in someway in a civic organization, scouting, soup kitchens, or as a volunteer with some organization that helped others in our community.

          Right now we are praying that God will call a few more to be Sunday School teachers, elders and deacons.  We are looking for some folks who have that calling.

          I could go on and on and one, listing one thing after another for an hour or more – but these give you an indication as to how long the list is.

          God calls – and what God calls us to do is from a long list of possibilities.

          Hopefully, as Christians whatever we are doing are things we have been called to do.

          Now let me tell you a little about the call.

First, the Call is from God, and it is part of his plan.  It is a long term plan.  God is not making it up as he goes along.

God did not realize one day that you were born and think, “Well, I’ll figure it out later.” 

Our Old Testament lesson from Jeremiah said:

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;”

Consecrated – another way of saying called.

You have a call from God, and you probably have many calls from God to do many different things at different times.

The second thing about being called – even though God is the one calling, and even though it is part of a long term plan…

Don’t expect it to make any sense whatsoever!  It is, in fact, usually counter intuitive.

I love Washington DC.  I love this country and say what you will about those politicians, I am proud to be an American and would have loved to have been a pastor in that church.  New York Avenue Presbyterian Church? Who in their right mind would say no to them.  Turning them down certainly did not make any sense to the Pastor Nominating Committee.

On the other hand, my first church was a little church in Sumter SC.  I knew the moment I walked into that church that I was called there.  The Pastor Nominating Committee did not know, they tried to call someone else. 

Actually, they tried to call lots of others until they began to believe no one in his or her right mind would go to a tiny little church that Presbytery was even considering closing.

Eventually they asked me and I said yes.

Jeremiah?  He is too young.  God says don’t think about your age.

Jeremiah?  He is not a public speaker.  God says don’t worry about it, I’ll give you the words to speak.  Worked for Moses, it will work for you.

Remember what we read from the Old Testament?

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.

If God calls you, don’t worry if it makes sense, just make sure it makes a call.

God will figure out the details.

Another thing about being called by God – it is like the Olympics.  It’s tough!  It’s not easy.

Being a parent is not easy. 

Being a soldier is not easy.

Having a job that deals with the public safety is not easy.

Whatever God calls you to do will be difficult.  Teaching in public school, serving as an elder or deacon in this church, working in the soup kitchen – whatever God calls you to do will be tough!  But you can do it – not because you have the strength, but because God has the strength.

Consider the words God said to Jeremiah in the Old Testament lesson:

you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”

If you think it is hard for you to be called to be a parent, or to be a nursery worker, or to work with the homeless, think about Jesus Christ.

He was called by God – now I am not going to remind you of how Jesus was called and three years later he was crucified.  That was tough, of course, but I am going to remind you that on the VERY FIRST DAY Jesus had it difficult.

Luke’s Gospel tells the way Jesus started his ministry…
(Luke 4:14-30)
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.  He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read,  and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

Now that part we often remember, but Luke goes on. And starts talking about Elijah and how Elijah was sent not to all of the Jewish people to help them during a famine and drought, but to a single person, a woman, and outcast. 

And Luke says this:

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.  They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.  But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Wow!  Those people were upset! 

From the very beginning, Jesus had it tough. 

And when God calls you, you will have it tough.

It doesn’t matter if you are called to be a student in algebra class,
or a teacher of algebra,
or a soldier protecting this nation,
or a police officer protecting this neighborhood,
or a parent or aunt, or uncle,
or a writer,
or a retail sales person,
 or to work in a restaurant,
 or elder,
or deacon.

Whatever God calls you to do will be difficult, and he does not call you because he knows YOU can do it, he calls YOU because he will give you the strength.

Your task is to listen to the call of God, and to accept that call, and to depend on God so you can do your best.

And now unto God the Father,
God the Son,
And God the Holy Spirit be ascribed all might, power, dominion and glory, today and forever, Amen.
Copyright 2016. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Generosity and Money - Luke 12:32-40

Scripture Lesson                                                                          Luke 12:32-40
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35 “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he[a] would not have let his house be broken into.40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

        The story is told of a mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.”

        Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you should be like Jesus!  Give me that first pancake!”

        Well, we should all be like Jesus.  We should all learn to become more generous. 

Our elders have identified seven marks of discipleship that all of our church members should embrace and demonstrate in our lives.  One of these is giving our time, talent and money.  Put another way, we should all be generous. 

We need to be generous to one another.  Neighbors need to be generous to people in their community.  Family members need to be generous to relatives.  Strangers need to be generous to one another.

        In a recent telephone survey, a question was asked “Do you consider yourself to be a generous person?”  An overwhelming number -- over 90% -- said yes.  This was followed up by a second question.  “Describe the last time you did something that was generous.”

        Now surveyors did not consider the details of the answer important.  Instead, they had a stop watch in hand and they were timing the respondents to see how long it took them to begin to remember their last generous act.

        The average time?  Twenty seconds.

        Twenty seconds.

        A long time.  They would have a few seconds of silence.  Then they would hem and haw for a moment with slowly saying, “Welllllll, let me seeeee.”

        If it takes us that long to remember the last time we were generous, then we can’t be a TRULY generous people.

        We want to be generous.

        God’s Word tells us to be generous.

        How, then, can we become generous?


        First, generous people don’t put their trust in money. 

        Our New Testament text comes from a larger section in which Jesus tells a parable of a man who worked hard, saved, and looked forward to retirement.  He put his trust in what he had stored away, but he had not invested any trust in God.

St. Paul, in his New Testament letter to Timothy, wrote, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain.”

        On all American money there is a motto, “In God We Trust.”  Unfortunately, we don’t trust the words of the motto; we trust the money it is printed on.

        You’ve probably have seen the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? “ 

        I don’t need another show of hands.  I know if asked, most if not all of us would raise our hands and say “yes”  I want to be a millionaire.

        Why?  We dream of winning the lottery.  We dream of striking it rich.  Why?

        Because we think that money will solve all of our problems.  Money gives us happiness.  Money gives us security.

        The car breaks down -- if we had enough money, we’d just buy a new one.

        The kids aren’t happy -- if we had enough money, we’d just take them to Disney World for a month.

        The house is a mess -- if we had enough money, we’d just hire a maid.

        Money makes us secure -- or at least, that is the common way of thinking.

        From time to time I get a letter from the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.  The letter always says the same thing, “Congratulations Maynard Pittendreigh,” and of course they almost always spell my name incorrectly.   “You may already have won a million dollars.”  Most of the time, these letters are thrown into the trash without even being opened, but once in a while I’ll take a look at it.  Somewhere in the letter there is the phrase, “Imagine having security for the rest of your life.”

        But money doesn’t add up to security.

        Ecclesiastes chapter 5 verse 10 says this: “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.”

        Trusting money is trusting in something that doesn’t have the power to make us secure and happy.

        Not long ago I read an article in the newspaper about a hospital in a Midwestern city where officials discovered that the firefighting equipment had never been connected.  For 35 years it had been relied upon for the safety of the patients in case of emergency.  But it had never been attached to the city's water main.  The pipe that led from the building extended 4 feet underground -- and there it stopped!  The medical staff and the patients had felt complete confidence in the system. They thought that if a blaze broke out, they could depend on a nearby hose to extinguish it. But theirs was a false security.  Although the costly equipment with its polished valves and well-placed outlets was adequate for the building, it lacked the most important thing -- a source of water!

        And that is the way it is with many of us.  We trust in something that looks like it can do the job, but it is absolutely useless.  Money has no power to give us happiness and security, and yet, we trust in it all too easily.

        And this trusting in money keeps us from becoming a generous people.  We cling to money thinking it will give us the things we need in life.

        If we are to become a generous people, we have to learn to stop trusting in money as our source of happiness and security so we can be able to let go of it and give it away.

        Instead of money, we have to trust something, or someone, else.


        Generous people don’t trust money, but they trust God. 
        In the New Testament lesson from Luke, Jesus tells us not to be afraid, but to trust God, whose pleasure it is to take care of us.

        St. Paul tells us 1 Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.“

        If you trust in money for happiness and security, of course you aren’t going to become generous.  You can’t let go of those things that you think will fulfill your life.  But if you trust God to provide for you, then you can begin to become generous and be able to share with others.

        Now strangely, it is easy to put our trust in money.  It is not easy for us to put our trust in God.

        A man falls off a cliff.

        As he is falling he miraculously grabs onto a twig -- a small tree growing out of the side of the canyon wall.

        For just a brief moment he thinks he is safe, but then he notices the plant is being pulled out of the ground because of his weight.

        Knowing he has just moments to live, he yells up to heaven.  “God almighty.  If you’re up there, save me.”

        Much to the man’s surprise, he hears a voice.

        “This is the Lord God.  Let go of the tree.  I’ll catch you.”

        The man looks down -- it is a long, long way down.

        Then he looks up and yells out, “Thanks a lot God, but is there anyone ELSE up there who can help?”

        It is hard to trust in God.


        St. Paul gives Timothy some guidance in our New Testament Lesson on how to develop generosity.  First, we need to stop trusting in money.  Second, we need to put our trust in God.  One third thing -- practice makes perfect.

        Generous people become generous, by developing the skill of generosity.

        The New Testament lesson talks about giving alms and sharing with others.   

St. Paul tells Timothy in the New Testament, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

        It is not in our nature to be generous.  Generosity is a skill.  It has to be developed.  And most of us have not developed this skill.

        Singing is a skill.  Typing is a skill.  Driving.  Speaking in public.  Teaching.  All of these are skills.  We all have skills.  If you stop and think about something that you are good at, you are good at it because you take the time and energy to develop that skill.

        Golf is a skill.  I used to play golf when I was in high school and college, but I haven’t played much in the past several years. 

Not long ago, Jimmy Steele and his team had a golf tournament to raise money for the youth.
I cannot believe he convinced me to play.

I had not played golf in years.
I would take a swing, look down, and see the ball was still on the tee.  Strikes are for baseball – not golf!

        But if I were to practice everyday, then I would certainly improve my game. 

        Generosity is the same thing.

        It isn’t something that comes naturally.  It is something that you have to work at and develop.

        The Bible constantly offers us the challenge to be generous and giving --

        Giving to the church,

        Giving to our neighbors,

        Giving to strangers.

        Giving our time, our talents, and our money.

        Generosity should become the way of life for the Christian.

        In Hebrews 13:16, the Bible says, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

        Practice your generosity.

        Be generous to your church, to your neighbors, to strangers.

        Hey – remember that survey I mentioned at the beginning of the sermon?  OK, it’s test time.  No need to get out your number 2 pencils or sheets of paper.   I’m going to time you.  I’ve got my stopwatch in hand.  I’m going to give you 20 seconds.

        Can you remember the last time you showed someone generosity?

        “20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1”

        Did you come up with anything?

        Are we generous enough?

Copyright 2016. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.