Grace Lutheran Church • 6931 Edinger Ave • Huntington Beach, CA • 92647 • (714) 899-1700

Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose – More than Generous Pt. 4

2 Corinthians 8 – 9
Pastor Chris Tweitmann

Since the dawn of civilization, human society has revolved around economics. Various systems have been created to orchestrate the production, consumption, and distribution of resources – goods, services, and wealth. Through it all, God has revealed His own economic system. However, the Lord’s economy does not operate under the same principles as the world’s economies and therefore, we have not followed it.

Much of what lies behind our rebellion against our Creator, as well as the reason for the brokenness of humanity, has to do with our rejection of the Lord’s intentions for how we handle all we have been given. As a result, the history of humanity is marked by repeated offenses borne of greed and gluttony, as well as scandalous levels of human poverty. In the simplest terms, the disproportionate nature of the handling of the more than adequate resources God has provided us is witnessed in the fact that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

For such abject scarcity in the lives of many to exist alongside such an overabundance and waste of resources in the day-to-day circumstances of a few is both unjust and inhuman. This is not how God created this world and our lives to be. Reversing this state of human affairs is part – a large part – of what Jesus came to do through his life, death, and resurrection. We are forgiven, we are equipped, we are being made whole in order to turn this tide. In following Jesus, we are called to become the conduits of this grace we have received – not only grace that saves us but the grace from which all blessings in this life and the next flow.

As we continue to unravel what this means and more importantly, what this looks like practically in our lives, we turn to the letters of Paul. One recurring part of Paul’s ministry that tends to be overlooked is a capital campaign he undertook for more than ten years. The focus of Paul’s financial appeal was the impoverished church in Jerusalem. As he traveled around the Roman Empire for a decade, planting churches in major urban areas, Paul continuously asked these Gentile churches to be generous in contributing to the needs of their poor Jewish Christian brothers and sisters.

Inferences to Paul’s ongoing appeal can be gleaned in his letters to the Galatians, the Romans, and explicitly to the Corinthians. This Sunday as we narrow in on Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, we will benefit from his extensive reflections on the grace of God, our generosity which naturally ought to follow, and the gratitude that always should mark not just our receiving but our giving. It’s going to be a wonderful recap of all we learned so far through this sermon series.

At the same time, we will learn some new things too. Paul is going to teach us how God’s economy works – how it can and will change our lives and this world if we abide by it. Together we will learn to cease from thinking of being more than generous merely as something we do, but instead to understand being more than generous as something we are to become.

Beloved, becoming more than generous is an invitation to invest in God’s economy of giving and receiving. However, as we’ll discover, in God’s economy it’s not as much about giving to the need as it is our needing to give. Our need to give is greater than the need of whom or whatever is receiving what we give. Come and hear how the harvest being sown through our generosity is just as much about the fruit the Lord seeks to yield in us as it is in the lives of others.

Grace to you!
Pastor Chris