Series – This is God’s Church
Sermon – Empowering All People
Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 8:17-19, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. If you do forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. (Deuteronomy 8:17-19)
Monday November 11 — Deuteronomy 8:1-10
One of the Bible’s primary commands is to “remember …”. There are more than 200 occurrences of “remember” in the NRSV version of the Bible. Remembering what God has done in our lives strengthens our ability to keep God’s commandments. When we remember that God was with us during difficult moments of the past, we can approach the future with confidence and faith. Can you look back in your life and find moments when God was with you — even if you were not aware of God’s presence at the time? How does that memory help you trust God more fully today?
• Prayer: Ever-Present God, thank you for your faithfulness. Open my eyes and ears to see and hear your presence in my life today. Increase my ability to trust you. Amen.
Tuesday November 12 — Deuteronomy 8:11-20
The 8th chapter of Deuteronomy could have been written in the 21st century. Like the Israelites, we are easily tempted to forget God when life is good. We can be tempted to think that we are the source of the blessings we enjoy in our lives. We believe that “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17). What helps you remember God when everything is going well? Which spiritual disciplines increase your awareness of God’s blessings?
• Prayer: Loving God, grant me the gift of increased awareness of your blessings. Teach me to remember you when life is good, not just when bad things are happening. Amen.
Wednesday November 13 — Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Tithing is one of the spiritual disciplines that increases our awareness of God’s blessing in our lives. Giving back to God the first fruits, the first ten (10) percent, of what we’ve received is an act of trust and obedience. We trust that the ninety (90) percent that we keep is more than enough — because ultimately everything we have and everything we are comes from God. Giving God the first ten percent, is a tangible way of affirming that God comes first in our lives. Consider how you decide how much you return to God through the church. What does it say about your trust and obedience?
• Prayer: Generous God, I know that everything I have and everything I am comes from you. Today I commit myself to putting you first in every aspect of my life. Amen.
Thursday November 14 — 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Several New Testament passages refer to the collection that the apostle Paul and his colleagues are receiving for the church in Jerusalem. The 8th and 9th chapters of 2 Corinthians are essentially fund-raising letters and reveal some important truths about why we should be generous and care for people in need. One is that our generosity is a tangible demonstration of our faith in God. A second is that generosity is Christ-like behavior. How does your generosity and your attitude toward sharing your resources reflect your faith and the example of Jesus?
• Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for the example of Jesus, who willingly gave up everything for my salvation. Help me learn how you want me to follow his example. Amen.
Friday November 15 — 2 Corinthians 9:1-5
Another reason that Paul and his associates are receiving a collection for the saints in Jerusalem is that it is a ministry (see 2 Corinthians 9:1). We often think of financial contributions to the church from a transactional perspective: paying for a service we receive. But generosity is not only a spiritual discipline, it is also a ministry. Like other kinds of ministry, God uses our generosity to change lives — including our own. How has your life been changed by someone’s generosity?
• Prayer: Almighty God, sometimes I forget how powerful you really are. I forget that you can use my gifts to change the world. Help me to remember and trust you with my life. Amen.
Saturday November 16 — 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
The conclusion of the apostles’ fund-raising efforts is focused as much on God as it is on the Corinthians that the apostles are trying to influence. It is about God’s blessings and the Corinthians’ relationship with God. Ultimately, the Corinthians’ generosity — and ours — is an act of worship. We glorify God when we trust and obey. (That’s why we receive tithes and offerings in worship services.) Reflect on your whole life, including your giving. How does your whole life glorify God?
• Prayer: Glorious God, at my best, I give you all the glory. Grant me the courage I need to glorify you with every aspect of my life, including my financial resources. Amen.