October 22, 2017 /Pentecost 20 /Pastor Richard Holmer
First Reading: Isaiah 45:1-7 / October 22, 2017/ Pentecost 20
Pastor Richard Holmer / First Reading: Isaiah 45:1-7 / Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10 / Gospel : Matthew 22: 15-20
The following are quotes from the lovegives cards plus commentary:
“Love gives what it has first received. What do I have that I have not received?”
- We love because God first loved us.
- Love happens to us, in order that it may happen through us.
- All that we are, all that we have comes to us as a gift.
- God the Giver shows us how love gives.
“Love gives us hope. Hope for the grace that our Lord gives us. Hope that we can be a light in this world.”
- Without love, what hope would we have? What could we hope for?
- Love gives us both motivation and strength to continue on.
- Loves gives us hope that we can be a blessing – that we can bring light where there is darkness.
“Love gives a perspective of what’s important.”
- One way to think about love is that it’s a point of view – a way of approaching life in this world.
- Because we know the love of God, we know what matters – and what does not.
- We know that love isn’t just for the few – it is for all.
- We know to love people, not things.
“Love gives…To give love and receive love is life’s greatest blessing. A person can have wealth, power, fame, but without love they are empty.”
- St. Paul’s great insight: without love we are NOTHING.
- The world goes after wealth and power and fame – but is starved for love!
- The irony is, LOVE is freely given. It cannot be bought.
- And what we freely receive, we can freely give. And in doing so, we discover life’s great blessing.
“Love gives hope, joy, forgiveness, happiness, assistance and contentment. Love gives us the courage to go on in hard times.
- I like the connection between “love” and courage.
o Love is a matter of the heart.
o The root word of courage is the french word “coeur”; meaning heart
o To take heart is to take courage
- Because we are loved, we have courage to face challenges and difficulties.
- Vespers Prayer: “Give us faith to go out with good courage…”
“Love gives…Love sets the feeling of life at its greatest. Love makes life and strength in all of us.”
- Love is always a double blessing – blessing us when we receive and when we give.
o Love isn’t depleted by sharing, it is compounded.
o We are most alive when we are loving and being loved.
o Where there is love, there is lasting JOY.
“Love gives us the opportunity to be a blessing to others. We don’t “got to give” – we “get to give.”
- Don’t “got to give,” we “get to give” – same with LOVE.
- Jesus speaks of a New Commandment – but it is a New Privilege.
- Giving is not an obligation – it is an opportunity to grow and become more who we are meant to be.
- Stewardship is about flipping the script – changing how we think about GIVING. We don’t have to, we get to, we need to.
“Love gives us the ability to place others before ourselves, for we are truly happy when we look outward.”
- The Golden Rule is the rule of love
o Not “what can you do for me?” but “what can I do for you?”
- What Jesus means by “losing yourself to find yourself.”
o In love we give ourselves away – and in return we find our true selves, our best selves.
o Love is the opposite of Narcissism.
“Love gives the benefit of the doubt.”
- Isn’t this what we all long for?
o To have someone assume the best about us, instead of the worst?
- Luther > Eighth Commandment
- Instead of suspicion, affirmation
“Love gives second chances.”
- The Christian Church is the church of second chances: Peter and Paul and all of us.
- Love gives forgiveness. Give is the heart of forgiveness.
- Love gives the chance to begin again, without guilt or fear.
- There is no room for fear in love, love casts out fear.
“Love gives freely, unselfishly and without looking back.”
- Love is like Jesus, gives like Jesus.
- Love is free, not constrained
o Love is selfless, not selfish
o Love keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t ask: What have you done for me?
- Love creates a better future.
To know Jesus is to know the goodness and the true blessing of love. Love is the pearl of surpassing value, the treasure that both gives life and makes life worth living.
The love of this congregation is expressed in generous giving. Alane already reminded us of the many ways you give time and money in love for our neighbors:
- Providing food for hungry children and building wells to sustain entire villages.
- Offering a new home and renewed hope to refugee families.
- Touching the lives of those in need through LSSI, PADS, COOL, NCCP.
- Love is providing a new pair of boots, the hospitality of a meal and a place to sleep, helping a student learn to read.
Christian stewardship is not about persuading persons to give their money. That’s fund raising, which is all well and good. Stewardship is about recalling the great love God has for us: how love gives life and living is fulfilled in loving. Once we understand the true nature of love, generous giving becomes not a duty, but a joy. For as Robert Louis Stevenson wisely observed: “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” It’s what love does: Love Gives.
Thanks be to God!