Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grace ->Generosity ->Ministry

In the fall our Sunday school class went through a study written by Jeanette Dickerson (who just happens to be the pastor's wife of Jeff's parent's church in Mansfield, small world) that has been on my heart and mind. I kept thinking that once I could articulate my thoughts clearly to Jeff I would write a blog about it. Well, don't ask Jeff how many times I've brought this up to him...he's lost count. I've decided it's just time to muddle through my thoughts and pray that the Spirit helps us understand what I mean!! So here goes.

A verse in John 1 has always stood out to me. "From his fullness we have received, grace upon grace." Goodness! Have you stopped to recognize the grace upon grace lavished on you? It overwhelms me. I am already saved by grace, that outta be enough but I continue to receive grace upon grace.
In the last few weeks several songs have stood out to me that speak to the grace I have received. Specifically, a few lines in the song "Follow You" by Leeland jumped out at me.

"All my needs You have supplied,
When I was dead You gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?"

"'Cause faith without works is dead,
And on the cross, Your blood was shed,
So how could we not give it away so freely?"

God's grace for us should stir something within us and cause some sort of action on our part, right? 

The beautiful hymn, The Wonderful Cross, says:
 "Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all"

God's grace for us more than calls us to be generous, it compels us be generous, to give freely.

Again, the Leeland song speaks to what our actions should be when we consider what was given to us.

"And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World."

For our family the grace we have received compels us to go to Macedonia. We are compelled to serve the poorest of the poor in Skopje. What does it mean for you? There are broken homes on your street, in your church, and in your family. We encounter the poor and needy every day. How can we not give what we have away so freely?

Maybe the reason this blog has taken so long to write is because this was the perfect week for sharing it, Holy Week. We love Holy Week and we take advantage of the many opportunities in Abilene to focus our attention on the significance of the week, the days leading to the cross. It is this time every year that we are confronted with the grace we received and every year we can decide how to respond to that grace.  Our prayer, for all of us, is that we would respond in generosity. 

The last piece is that generosity fuels ministry. When we think of people we know that live a generous lifestyle we don't just think of the people that give of their financial resources so freely, though we have seen people to whom much was given and how they give so freely, but we also see the faces of people that freely give their time and talents. We think of the people that work in the nursery, that drive for Meals on Wheels, that build relationship in their neighborhood, coach Upward or little league teams when they don't even have kiddos. They are pouring their time and love into others. Their generosity has fueled their ministry.

For many of you, the grace you have received has caused you to respond in generosity to help fuel the ministry in Macedonia! Your time in prayer, your love for us and the people of Skopje, your financial giving, and your coming to Macedonia are fueling the work God has called all of us to participate in!

Alicia and Jeff

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written, Alicia. Glad you didn't wait any longer to share. Shelia