“Fostering Contentment and Joy”

On October 14, Pastor Jim preaches on 1 Timothy 6:6-10.

6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

This Sunday is Celebration Sunday, the Sunday where we must utter the “M-Word,” aka “money.” Ugh! We Methodists are a rather reserved bunch. We respect the privacy of others, and perhaps to a fault, confrontation is not our strong suit.

This is my 31st year of trying to separate folks from their money. Actually, that’s not the most graceful way of saying it. I suppose I mean to say: For 31 years I’ve been tying to help people understand the joy of giving to their church.

Anyone who knows me realizes that I am a work in progress. If you have a half an hour to kill, ask Jan. She will tell you that I have many rough edges that need a good sanding.

However, giving to my church is something that I finally got right. Electronic giving has helped. Twice a month, quick as a flash, my tithe goes to the church. I don’t have to write a check or fill out an envelope; it just happens. It happens when I’m out of town. It happened while I was away on sabbatical. It’s a good thing. I can honestly say I don’t miss a dime. It’s just a matter of course for my life, like breathing out and breathing in. Matter of course,” by the way, according to Google means, “something that follows in a logical, natural, or customary sequence or that is treated as such.”

Electronic giving may not be right for you, but healthy, even sacrificial giving is. It frees us from fear and the love of money, which is the root of all kinds of evil. According to 1 Timothy, some people in their eagerness to become rich have “wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (Gulp!)

Speaking of being rich, according to a study by the BBC the global average income is about $18,000 a year.  This may seem higher than most of us would guess, but we must remember that it’s an average. The BBC study also reveals that about a third of the world lives on less than $2 a day, or about $730 a year. (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17512040) So…globally speaking, who are the richest people in the world?

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