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Making a Sacrificial Gift
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In my recent pastoral letter to the congregation, there was an invitation to observe a holy Lent.  In it, I enumerated seven disciplines to deepen our relationship with God in the journey toward Easter Day.


  •       Deepening one’s prayer practices.
  •       Broadening one’s observance of Bible reading for study and for edification.
  •       Experiencing the tradition of fasting and other forms of self-discipline.
  •       Developing a new or renewed relationship with a friend through forgiveness and offerings of grace.
  •       Making a sacrificial gift.
  •       Exercising the freedom to participate in the Sacrament of Holy Communion as often as possible, and
  •       Conferencing with friends to review how we respond to the essential Wesleyan question:  “How is it with my soul?”.


In this blog, my focus is on the fifth point in bold print above.


Sacrifice does not seem to be popular today.  There is a tendency to appreciate the sacrifice of others and a hesitancy to offer ourselves sacrificially.  Many people hold the notion that Jesus’ sacrifice means that I do not have to offer myself sacrificially.  There is another view.  Christians are called to be Christ-like.  Being a disciple means that a reflection of Christ will be seen in each of us.  Many Bible verses promote this idea (e.g. John 13:13-17, I Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1-2, I Peter 2:21, and I John 2:6).


Over the years, I have known many extraordinary Christian disciples who lived sacrificially and gave amazing gifts. 


There was Jim who was preparing to retire and decided to work an extra year.  All of his salary during that extra year he gave to his church.


There was Ardith who worked at the church.  In addition to a sacrificial financial gift, she worked a regular work week at her church.  She was not ordained, but she worked like a pastor.  She visited hospitals and home bound members.  She organized the church for ministry.  She was a lay reader on Sunday mornings.  She did not receive a penny in salary.  She did admit her job had benefits which were more important than a pension.


There was Lavine.  She too was retired, and her entire income was $400 each month from a Social Security check.  She gave $40 every month to her church.


There was David who started giving 10% of everything he earned at an early age.  He developed this discipline before he was ten years old.  He continued to give a tithe of everything he earned throughout his college years.  As an adult and an owner of a small business, he consistently gave his sacrificial gifts.  When he retired, he had given 10% of everything he had ever earned.


There was Jane.  She was at the church almost daily.  She cooked meals in church kitchen and served the food in the Fellowship Hall for anyone who came.  Anyone, rich, poor or in between, could eat free of charge.  She worked on mission trips.  She founded a Sunday School Class and recruited others as leaders for its continued effectiveness. She kept minutes for committees and printed administrative documents for the pastors and staff.  “A half dozen more “Janes” in the congregation and the whole town will be Methodists.


There was … you…


Charles Murry, Lead Pastor

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