For the Fall of 2011 and the Spring of 2012 we will focus on a particular area of ministry in the life of the church in the Grapevine and on Sunday morning. I say “area of ministry” rather than “ministries” because there may be many ministries ministering within the same segment of the congregation or area of ministry. For example, our Deacons do mercy ministry, especially through the Deacon’s Fund. But WIC and the Children’s Ministry also do mercy ministry. WIC decorated a room for homeless families at the Sunday Breakfast Mission. Our children often make cards during opening exercises and send them to those who need encouragement. As I write, I think that nearly every ministry of our church does some mercy ministry. And, that is how it should be. Jesus says in John 13 that the world will know that we are Christians because of our love, one for another. Our relationships with one another will be characterized by mercy because Christ has shown us mercy. We seem to grasp quickly that mercy is good for those who receive it. We have been taught and understand from John 13 that love and mercy toward one another is vital for our witness to the world. We are less aware, however, that we actually have a need to give ourselves. First, we are called by God to love our neighbor as ourselves. From the moment that we are united to Christ, the Holy Spirit begins to work in us toward that end. Part of loving our neighbor as ourselves is being willing to minister to them in their time of need. When we isolate ourselves from the needs of those around us we hurt ourselves as much as we hurt others. We are robbed of the privilege of expressing the very work that the Spirit of God is working to bring about in us: a sacrificial love that mirrors the sacrificial love of Christ.
A second reason that we need to give is to experience the supernatural provision of God. Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” When we step out in faith to meet the needs of others we do so knowing that God has not forgotten our own needs. In fact, he knows those needs better than we do. God makes grace abound to us so that we can, time and again, respond to the needs of those around us while being confident that God will supply our needs. As we see God “multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness” (2 Cor 9:10) our faith is encouraged.
Have you seen the enormous pipelines that carry oil? We may think of ourselves are stepping right into the pipeline of God’s grace when we give sacrificially in faithfulness to God. We experience the supernatural work of God providing for our lack (whether it be money, time or emotional energy) so that we can continue to give in the future. Giving is a means to experience the supernatural grace of God.
During the month of October we are engaged in a food drive to support the Sunday Breakfast Mission. If 200 individuals or families give 20 can each and provide 5lbs of meat then we could 5000 people. That is a lot of people. It would be wonderful to send the Sunday Breakfast mission into the winter with a full cupboard. Short term needs in our congregation are often handled by Helping Hands. At any given time there are a number of things that that ministry can direct people to do to use their gifts.
Let’s step out in faith. Let’s give sacrificially of our time, talent and treasure. The world will know that we are Christians, those who receive mercy will praise God on account of us, and we will find ourselves basking in the grace of God as he conforms us to Christ and supernaturally blesses us with his provision that we may show mercy time and again.