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Gifts – “The Shift from ‘Survival Mentality’ to Generosity”
“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.” II Corinthians 8:2
There have been times during my life when I wanted to quit. What difference am I making? Even if I could make a difference in a person’s life, what difference would that make in our world with its many needs? It is easy to become discouraged when I look around at what is happening in our world. It is easy to feel that I am powerless to do anything to make our world better. It is during those times that I am looking at the glass half empty. It is during those times when I am focusing on what is wrong in my life and in the world around me that I become a victim of “survival mentality.” “Survival mentality” reigns when we dwell on what is wrong and believe that there is nothing that we or anyone else can do that will make a difference. Since anything that we would invest in others would just be a waste, we are consumed with meeting our own needs and ensuring our own future. We choose to do everything that we can to survive.
Generosity is the exact opposite. It is looking at the glass and seeing it half full. It is seeing what is good around us and the blessings that we have experienced. Because God has done so much in our life, we are confident that God can also work in anyone else’s life as well. It is that confidence that allows us to continue to reach out into a broken world to bring God’s hope. We trust that God will use the good that we do along with the good that others in the Body of Christ does so that together much good can be done. The world can be changed one person at a time.
There was a man walking on the beach who noticed in the distance another man who was taking a step, stopping, bending down, picking something up, throwing it into the ocean and then repeating the sequence over again. As the man got closer he saw what the other man was doing. The other man had picked up the starfish that had washed ashore overnight behind him. In front of the other man the beach was crowded with starfish that remained. As the other man threw another starfish into the ocean, the man asked him why he was doing that? There were so many starfish to throw into the water. He could not throw all of them into the water before the heat of the day dried them out. And besides what is to keep those starfish from washing up on shore later and dying. What difference was other man making? As the other man threw a starfish into the ocean, he said that he had made a difference for that one.
Will we give up because the task before us seems too great? Or will we step into the future realizing that what we do will make a difference for that one?
This Sunday is Consecration Sunday. When you arrive, you will be handed a card on which you are invited to prayerfully respond on how you will commit to living out your vows of Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service and Witness in 2017. What is God calling you to do? What is God calling you to give? Your answer is your legacy. Your answer will shape the future.