Yesterday was Father’s Day! We just love our dads and are grateful for all they do for us. We took time to honor all the men in our congregation with a fun treat, spoken word from some of our servant leaders and a little friendly competition. it was the best day ever!
If you've been following along, you know that we’re in a series called ALL IN. As a community, one of our core values is: Generosity is our privilege. We can't go ALL IN without committing to to being generous with our time, talent and treasure. Many people don't believe in God because they see so many problems in the world and think, “If there is a God, why are there so many things wrong in the world?” We blame God because we believe He is the solution. But we can ask ourselves: What problem can be solved with my generosity?
To illustrate this message, Pastor Taylor referenced the story in Luke chapter 9 when Jesus fed thousands with two fish and five loaves of bread. In the story, The multitudes have gathered and the disciples want to send them away, saying they don't have enough to feed them. Jesus says to them: “You give them something to eat.” They replied that they only had two fish and five loaves of bread and would need to buy more to feed them. If you're familiar with this story, then you know that with the little they had, Jesus is able to perform a great miracle. He takes what they have given Him, blesses it and feeds the crowd. And in the end, there were twelve baskets left.
This story in Luke 9 is one in which the disciples thought there wasn't enough food to feed that many people. But God blessed it and allowed for there to be leftovers. In saying, “Give them something...” Jesus calls His followers to do something so that He can do everything. All we have is just what God needs. We must shift our focus from what we don't have to all God has given us. Freely we have received, freely we are able give.
But sometimes we view the Kingdom of God like a pizza party--we think that if we miss out on a slice, then we lose something. We have trained our minds to think that there isn’t enough to go around. We want you to know that God is still in the business of doing the impossible. Anything we put in the hands of Jesus, He can multiply. The question is: What are we giving Him to bless?
One of our servant leaders, Erika (pictured right), believes she was given an incredible opportunity to be generous and due to her obedience, God took her small gift and changed someone’s life.
“God is my everything,” Erika told us. “And He has always shown me He is a graceful, and a generous God. I grew up in South America and became very close to one of my cousins. My uncle struggled and couldn't send her to college. Even though I have many things I have to take care of financially, God placed on my heart to help pay for my cousin’s college tuition. At first, I was very resistant because I had other plans with my income. Just in those months, I had joined Trinity Harlem and learned that ‘Generosity was a privilege.’ I prayed and God opened my heart, and God has provided on a miraculous way, that I could never imagine if He was not a generous God. I learned that being generous is not because ‘I have to be a good person,’ but as a servant of God, it is my privilege to give, because everything I have comes from Him.”
In the books of Acts, Jesus says it is more blessed to give than to receive. Generosity is not only a privilege, it is a blessing. It’s a lifestyle. It's a choice. It requires planning. Proverbs tells us that the world of the generous grows larger and larger. For that reason, those who are generous tend to often have a lot of people around them. We don't just want to be bought in, we want to be sold out for Jesus. So we need a generosity plan.
Practically, it means living below our means so God can use our 80%. If we save 10% and give 10%, we create a space for God to take our little and multiply it to do great things for His Kingdom. Under the law of the Old Testament, we had to tithe; but under the grace of Jesus, we get to give. It has become our privilege. Just as the story of the two fish and five loaves ended with leftovers, ours can, too. We serve a God with whom there are always leftovers. So how generous are we going to be this week?