24th Sunday after Pentecost | Joash Chest Commitment Sunday | November 11, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I don’t think I’ve shared with you our wonderful short film, Grateful Hearts. It is filled with stories of grateful people and their giving through our Matthews United Methodist Endowment. Watch the video by clicking on here, and view our special online event, Stories from the Endowment, by clicking here.
Just recently I stood at a graveside alongside one of our grieving families. We remained silent as two soldiers took the American flag draped over the coffin. With precise and deliberate movements, the uniformed, young soldiers folded the flag into a perfect triangle. Kneeling before the widow, the lead of the honor guard said, “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”
The phrase, “a grateful nation,” has always resonated with me. It calls us to be filled with thanksgiving for those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf. I encourage you to be a part of this grateful nation in impatient and entitled times.
Didn’t We Just Do This a Couple of Months Ago?
There is a funny skit about a couple paying their bills at the kitchen table when they open a letter from the church, reminding them it is pledge time. They say things like, “Didn’t we just do that a couple of months ago? It seems like Pledge Sunday comes every quarter!”
Then they read a line that says, “If you wish to tithe, put that amount here.” The husband asks, what is a tithe? After googling it on her phone the wife says, “It means ten percent.”
“Ten percent of what?” asks the husband. “I’m sure they mean our income,” replies the wife.
So they figure and write down what that amount would be and stare incredulously at the piece of paper. “That’s crazy,” they say in harmony. Then the wife says, “But wait. What if we figure this like our taxes?” The husband has her explain. She says that even taxes allow you to put down deductions. “What might be some deductions we have?”
That got them started. They wrote down the tithe amount and started subtracting. They remembered the time they did outdoor work at the church and deducted the gasoline costs for equipment. Then there was the time they had the pastor’s family over to eat. And the mileage of driving to and from church each Sunday. And the cost of buying treats for Children’s Sunday School. And on and on it goes with them getting increasingly excited. When they finish, the husband says with uncontainable joy, “You’re not going to believe this! The church owes us fifty dollars!”
It’s really funny but it also points out an important distinction. If giving to the church feels like a tax, our joy in giving will get deducted. It becomes something we owe. However, if we look at giving as the Apostle Paul encouraged, we see it more as something we sow. Giving is like planting seeds that produce fruit in time ahead. We invest in God’s work, and trust that our gifts will transform into expressions of faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
Somewhere along the way, we should find it all rather funny. Paul said that God loves a cheerful giver. The word cheerful is better translated to hilarious. God loves it when people get a kick out of giving. So get ready for Sunday, and find the humor in it!
Please prayerfully consider how your 2021 pledge will help enable the life-giving ministry of Matthews United Methodist Church to continue to spread within and beyond our walls to ALL. You may fill out your pledge card and mail it back to the church, complete it online, or come by the church on Sunday afternoon between 2 pm and 3 pm and drop it in the Joash Chest (small parking lot by Sanctuary). All of the details can be found here.
“Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
2 Corinthians 9:6
Advent Begins on November 29
During Advent 2020, especially in these of disconnection, I hope you’ll take some steps to connect more deeply with your church. One of the ways you can do so to participate in one of our Advent group opportunities. They will go right along with our Advent worship series, The Many Moods of Christmas. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to spend special moments connecting more deeply with God and one another. You can sign up to be a part of a group here.
- November 29 – Christmas Anticipation (Luke 1:5-22)
- December 6 – Christmas Catastrophe (Genesis 3:13-15
- December 13 – Christmas Laughter (Matthew 1:18-25)
- December 20 – Christmas Ambiguity (Luke 1:26-38)
- December 24 – Christmas Mess, Christmas Magic (Luke 2:1-20)
Devotion & This Sunday (November 8) in Worship
Please view my devotion “A Living, Growing, Thriving Church” for today.
This week as our CCH community gathers for worship at 12:30 pm, Pastor Roldan will continue the worship series, The Movement Has to Continue, preaching from Acts 4:8-12. His message is “The Best Answer.” Pastor Roldan says, “I believe we are living in times that have created more questions than answers. Jesus continues to be the best answer for all times regardless of the magnitude of the challenges we face.”
This Sunday is our annual Joash Chest Commitment Sunday with our 2021 theme, Onward Together … with Love. My sermon is from II Corinthians 9:6-11, Luke 17:11-19 and is titled, “How Can I Say Thanks?”
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and tumultuous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Onward Together … with Love,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Elaine Arnold is retiring from our MUMC staff on December 3? We give thanks to God for her faithful and fruitful service among us. Prior to serving in Accounts Payable, Elaine served in the Music & Worship Arts Ministry as a volunteer as well as staff, and as an integral leader in Confirmation. We wish Elaine all the best!
Did you know that Maggie Hankins and Nathan Brown were married on Saturday, November 7 in Asheville? Maggie grew up at MUMC, and is the daughter of Fred and Amy DeVore. They will live in Raleigh, NC. Congratulations, Maggie & Nathan!
Did you know that nine families from the Becoming One Sunday School Class participated in packing 200 Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes in a socially-distanced packing party held in the parking lot? Your Global Impact dollars helped make this event possible.