Pastor Dave’s eNote – The Simplest of Gifts
Categories: Pastor Dave's eNote
“Listen, dear friends: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?” James 2:5
Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to have nothing. Think about it, not one piece of clothing, not one material thing, not one toothbrush, not one relative or friend to rely on. So much of what we have defines who we are. We choose our friends, clothing, material possessions and even our food, out of a sense of identity. I wonder, if we didn’t have anything, who would we be?
I bet you can remember the first time you wanted something that defined you. When I was young, I wanted to run fast. I remember wanting my first pair of Converse sneakers. I would beg my parents, my uncle and anyone who would listen. From the moment I first saw a picture of them, I knew I had to have them. One day, I came home and there on my bed was a shoe box and inside, white Converse sneakers. The second I put them on I could feel the energy surging through my feet. I challenged everyone I met to a race and I won most of the them. At night, after my bath, I would put them back on and sleep in them. From that time forward, I have wrestled with the cultural connection between what we have and who we are, just as I’m sure, most of us have. I also believe there should be times when we simply must tap the breaks and say no to the consumer-minded culture around us.
When a young woman is rescued and brought to the Solomon House, she brings nothing. Even the clothes she wears for the journey to the house are not hers. What little she has, she must leave behind. She has no clothes, hairbrush, toothbrush, soap, or shampoo. She has nothing. I wonder what this must feel like, to leave all you have and run into the arms of complete strangers, only to be taken to a place you have never seen. Whenever Out of Darkness announces a rescue and praises God, I stop and think of the complete uncertainty this young woman has just thrown her life into. After my tears stop, I praise God and then ask Him, if it were ever needed, I pray He would grant me that kind of courage.
This Valentine’s Day, I thought we might do something different as a church. I want to challenge families, friends, LifeGroups and Sunday School classes to create Solomon House Valentine’s baskets. Let’s show each of these women they are not crazy for reaching out to God and seeking a new life in Christ. Let’s decorate the baskets with red and pink ribbons and include prayers and cards. Also, please include: Tampax and pads, facial wipes, eye makeup remover, Kleenex packs (small), emery boards, tweezers, mascara, eye liner, blush, toothbrushes, lotions, body wash, small journals and razors.
We will display the baskets Wednesday, February 11, during the Wednesday Night Supper and pray over them. Then, later that night, volunteers will take the baskets to the girls. We’ll use any extra baskets throughout the year as new girls come into the house.
James reminds us, in serving the poor we gain insight into God’s plan of salvation. It was God who made himself poor by coming to earth in Jesus. He did this on our behalf so that He could stand with us and then give His life for us. When we give to God and help others in need, we are in some degree doing the same thing. Our sacrifice is a way of making ourselves poor, so that we stand with those whom God wants to reach. Every gift we make, can of food we donate, every dollar we put in the collection plate and every sacrificial offering, is our way of saying, “God stood with us and now God, I am standing with you.”
This is why giving and missions has and will always be important to me. It is my way of disconnecting from the culture of materialism and entering into the culture of the Kingdom. When this happens, I discover who I really am. I know this will be true for you as well. It is in the giving our lives away, that we eventually find a life worth having.
This week in worship, we will be looking at Genesis 35 and the renaming of Jacob’s son, Benjamin. His mother Rachel, named him Ben-Oni; however, his father Jacob, renamed him Benjamin. Jacob understood something very profound about the transformative power of God as that power relates to the narrative of our lives. It will be an exciting Sunday and of course, we will gather around the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, February 15th. Following the 11:00am service, we will have a Groundbreaking Ceremony. It will be an exciting time, so plan to bring your shovel, camera and your friends and neighbors!
Last, I want to say thank you, to everyone that submitted a 2015 Estimate of Giving. Thank you for your Commitment to God and for your love of this church. Over the next few weeks we will set a 2015 spending plan. Last, the Finance Team will release a 2014 recap soon.
It is always a joy to serve as your pastor and I know God has great things in store for you and Hamilton Mill UMC.
David L. Davis