Sunday, July 1, 2012

Basic Discipleship V - Give

Opening Prayer – Charles de Foucauld

God, I abandon myself to you.
Do with me as you will.
Whatever you may do with me, I thank you.
I am prepared for anything, I accept everything.
Provided your will is fulfilled in me and in all creatures I ask for nothing more, my God.
I place my soul in your hands. I give it to you, my God,
With all the love of my heart
Because I love you.
And for me it is a necessity of love,
This gift of myself, This placing of myself in your hands
Without reserve
In boundless confidence
Because you are my God
We started with 15 minutes in small groups - brief sharing about where we were on the journey of where our deep longing meets the needs of the world. Also anything on prayer. 

Asked everyone to think about their money stories – what messages about money did you receive from your family or origin or church growing up. Were they about scarcity or abundance?

Matthew 11:30 -"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 

John 21:15-19 - When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 

Give is about how we answer Jesus command: Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 

Give is about how we answer Jesus question: “do you love me more than these?” 

Giving is about freedom. It is about letting go of what we hold most dear and saying “Jesus, I love you more than these.” It is about money (which is what our culture holds most dear) but it’s also about letting go of grudges (for-giving), agendas and many other things. 

There is a key word that is a fail-safe indicator of what “these” are for each of us. It is the word “mine.” (think Finding Nemo and the pelicans … and any 3 year old). 

Mine is a fiction. At the offertory we say “All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.” We don’t own anything. Nothing is ours. All is God’s. That’s true for everything. Even time! How many times have we said “I don’t HAVE the time.” Of course you don’t, time is not ours to have. It is God’s. 

Think of your whole life as a giant arts and crafts table. You don’t own anything on it – including your life itself – but you get to use everything that is on it to create something beautiful for God. 

So where do you say “mine”? What do you hold most dear in your life? Don’t hold back. Name it. We named things and put them on easel paper.

Luke 9:59-62 Jesus said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ 

What is it like to imagine giving it up. Entrusting it to God. Freeing yourself of the worry of whether you will have enough.  

Matthew 19:16-30 - Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’ 

Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. 

When I was raising money for EGR and Rockwell House, I used to tell people, "I’m here to liberate you from your money. " This is the challenge of stewardship – we are trained to think that our money is something that we own that others are trying to get from us. We are always being marketed to … so we assume the church is doing the same thing. And so we get defensive and protective about our wealth. 

Believe me when I tell you that it is more important to me that you give than that you give to Christ Church Cathedral. 

Give is a habit of discipleship because  
-it is our liberation and rest (“trapped under something heavy”) 
-it is a statement of “I love you more than these”
-it is our salvation 

Working toward a tithe. Tithe is a goal. Biblically based. It is a minimum. This is all part of kenotic living. 

Everyone had the opportunity to sign up for a two-month trial with a discipleship group!