“The practice of generosity describes the Christian’s un-selfish willingness to give in order to make a positive difference for the purposes of Christ.”   Robert Schnase Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, 2007, p. 112


Several years ago, the Rev. Ken Timmerman preached a sermon that included a story from his childhood.  It seemed that at a council meeting at his grandfather’s church, folks were having an animated discussion about whether or not they should do some project or another. The grandfather was adamant that they should not do whatever it was that had been suggested. They prayed and they argued around and fussed and shared facts and opinions and finally called for a vote. The project was approved. Ken said that his grandfather was furious; it was written all over his face. But then his grandfather spoke up and said, “I don’t like this not one bit, but if it is the Lord’s will, let me be the first one to put a piece of money to it,” and he took out his wallet and laid some money down.

That story has stayed with me over the years.  I think of Ken’s grandfather being generous to God’s purposes even when he could not see the sense in it himself.   Ken’s grandfather’s gift was neither selfish nor self-serving, but an obedient response to God’s generosity to him. God has been so generous with all of us, giving us life, and a place and community in which to live, and a Savior in whom to trust into eternal life.  

Giving brings joy to our lives.  Lately, I’ve been looking at pictures of people working in donation centers, shoveling sand and reaching out to neighbors, and there are smiles and goodwill on every face. Giving of our treasures (money and things), time, and talents completes us. In some inexplicable way, when we give, we find ourselves receiving grace; because when we give, we mirror God who gave his Son.  
Scripture teaches us that “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) and “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
Thank you for giving, and thank you for the financial pledges you have made to Surfside UMC for 2019.  I am excited to see how God will use your generosity to fulfil his purposes!


Pastor Scarlett