Giving Joyfully and Generously

Stewardship Temple Talk

October 17 and 20, 2013

For this fourth and last week of our stewardship emphasis “Fulfilling God’s Purpose!” our focus is “Giving Joyfully and Generously.” We may see the difference between joyful and less than joyful giving in the story of Cain and Abel. Reading from the 4th chapter of Genesis in “The Message” translation:

Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer. Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk.

Is the contrast between the two brothers only that one brought grain and the other meat? Or is the difference that Cain offered only what he thought he might spare, while Abel responded with “the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions,” (as we find in the NRSV version of the story.)  Abel gave the best he had, from his heart.

Our own offerings can parallel Cain’s or Abel’s, or fall somewhere between the two. Which of the following might best characterize ours?

Our offerings are inconsistent or nothing at all?

  1. We respond like Cain without trust or real commitment?
  2. We respond like Abel, in trust and love, acknowledging God as Lord of our lives?

With God’s help, we can respond like Abel, worshiping God in our giving.

Later in the service we will be able to place our 2014 Estimate of Giving Cards in the basket provided as we return from communing. Hopefully you have the personalized card you received in the mail this past week with you; if not, our ushers have others available.

Please respond generously and go forth from here joyfully.

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