Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Oct 4, 2015 Sermon

“Hands that Give”
2 Corinthians 8:1 – 7
Ted Jansen  October 4, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Thank you for your giving to Madina Schools in Sierre Leone.  Your hands gave over $590 to the children, staff and ministry in Africa.  Thank you for the ways your hands have given to the needs of the children, staff and ministry of the Appalachian people in Kentucky and Tennessee.  Thank you for the ways your hands have given to the children and families of the Waynedale area who have been served by the Food Bank.  Thank you. Thank you for the ways your hand give.
 
2.)        Paul, in his letter to the church in Corinth, shares how the churches in Macedonia have given to the disciples who were poor in Jerusalem.  The people in Macedonia had heard about the need and desired to use their hands to give to their fellow believers to help them. 
            Paul wants to encourage the church in Corinth to be like the church in Macedonia.  The church in Corinth was surrounded by a very wealthy city with large influence in the world.  Paul wanted the church there to realize that it is not about the amounts of money but about the spirit of the giving of the money.  
            Paul was encouraged by the church in Macedonia because the church gave to others out of their own poverty.  In verse 5 Paul says, “they did not do as we expected.”  The Macedonian church did the unexpected.  Though they did not have much they still gave. 
 
3.)        The church has been giving to others in the world as well as those in need in their own community.  The Holy Spirit led the church, the people, to be givers. 
            I invite us to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to think about two themes that I see from Paul’s words.  Those themes are: Finish What You Start, God’s Grace Overflows.        
 
4.)        Finish What You Start
            Paul wanted them to finish what they started in regards to a gift for the poor believers in Jerusalem.  In 1 Corinthians 8:6 Paul urges Titus, who started collecting money to finish and give what you have.  
            It was important for Paul to make sure the church followed through.  Intentions are not enough.  We need to have actions and follow through. 
We can have great intentions and ideas but let us take action to see a plan come into being. 
            Last week was the Fort 4 Fitness.  It was a race, run, and walk.  The most important thing about it was starting and finishing.  I was intrigued by the Children’s and Senior’s marathon.  These are started on your own and the last mile is done on Friday.  The public sees and celebrates the ending but it took participants a long time to get the miles in before Friday night.  The people finished what was started and they celebrated.    
            We are coming to the last three months of 2015 and I encourage you to finish what you started.  I also invite you in the next few months to consider 2016 and the work of God through the Waynedale Church. 
 
5.)        God’s Grace Overflows.
            As I was reading this scripture and studied the words I had an image of overflowing water.  Listen to the first two verse and my emphasis on them.  “We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”  (1 Corinthians 8:1, 2)
            The word grace has a meaning of abundant love, wealth, gifts, lavished upon.  The words, overflowing, welled up, rich, generosity made me think of overflowing.  Can you picture this in our mind?  Water flowing in abundance and overflowing.    
 
6.)        Paul wanted people to find a way that they would experience overflowing joy and generosity from God.    
We see that in verse 7 Paul wants the church to “excel in this grace of giving.”  The word excel also has a meaning in the Greek of abundance, lavish and wealth.
The word for grace is charis and it has a meaning like love freely given in abundant gifts.    
 
7.)        I have a picture of God’s grace and gifts that come to us like water that flows to us.  We allow it to enter our soul and spirit and wash us, renew us and fill us.  When grace continues after we have been filled it overflows.  When it is full and can’t contain any more water it will overflow if the water continues to flow. 
            When there is overflow we have two choices.  We can get a bigger container to contain he water you can pour the water out to others and fill up more from the water that is flowing.
            Let me illustrate this with this pitcher, water and some cups.  (Do this.)
 
8.)        The bigger container can represent our lives that have a more costly lifestyle.  We receive more water in the container because we have decided that we need a bigger lifestyle.  If that is our situation then we might spend a lot of our time and life seeking bigger and bigger containers.    
When we pour the water into others we have more room because we have chosen to give to God and God’s ministry.  That is one image of using our hands to give.     
            I believe that God desires that we pour our water out of the vessel God has given us.  There are others who can use the blessing and grace of God and the resources for their lives. 
 
9.)        The 23rd Psalm gives me an image.  “My cup overflows,” is what David wrote of God’s grace and overflowing love.   
We need to let the Lord pour into our hearts his grace.  We should not be concerned with getting a bigger container, but pouring, with our hands God’s grace.  As we give, like the early church money, prayers, love for God and the poor we will be blessed.  
   
10.)      Consider the Son of God.  He was in the upper room when He took a cup and gave thanks and spoke some new words.  He said His blood was poured out for them and for many.   When we drink from this cup we are to remember Jesus Christ.  We let grace flow into our hearts. 
Jesus also gave thanks for the bread and as He gave it to His disciples He said it was His body, broken for them and for many.  When we eat the bread we remember Jesus Christ.  
            Jesus chose to pour out His life for us instead of holding God’s love or seeking a bigger container.  When we celebrate Communion we allow the grace of God to be poured into our hearts and souls anew and afresh.  We can know forgiveness, hope, healing, mercy, purpose.