“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people
but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:12
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
How are you doing on “Giving thanks in all circumstances” this week? It takes work, doesn’t it? Even on the rainy days, I am trying to be grateful that this Fall, Pittsburgh has been remarkably sunny. The Lord knows we need all the sunshine (and Steelers wins) we can get this year!
As we continue with week two of our series on Growing in Gratitude, we are looking at the relationship between gratitude and generosity. I read a story recently about a couple who was trying to help an elderly man who lived in a shack down the road from them. One day he reported to them that someone had anonymously left a bag of warm winter clothes outside his door. The couple remarked that it was wonderful news. He responded, “You know what's even more wonderful? Just yesterday I met some people that could use them!”
I love the free-spirited generosity this man displayed. He had the same heart Paul describes when he writes in 2 Cor 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” I have mentioned before that the Greek word for “cheerful” here actually is hilaros, the root of “hilarious.” What does a hilarious gift look like? The couple who had tried to help this poor man probably found his response pretty hilarious! It was joyful and extravagant, especially in light of his own meager resources.
When we realize that everything we have is a gift from the Lord, it is far easier to hold it loosely and to share it with others. Paul reminds the Corinthians that all their blessings are from God, and through these gifts, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor 9:11). And further, when they give, their “generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
There is almost a rhythm to Paul’s talk about giving: God gives us gifts, we give thanks, we give gifts, others give thanks. Gratitude and generosity grow out of one another. God’s generosity builds our gratitude which builds our generosity which builds more gratitude.
Our challenge during a difficult year like 2020, with so many unknowns, is to stay grateful. The temptation is to hold onto what we have, to store up resources just in case things get worse. But when we realize it all came from God in the first place, it helps build our trust that He will indeed provide our needs whatever the days ahead may hold. It also builds our generosity to share what we have with others in need.
As you pray about God’s call to gratitude and generosity this week, please be praying about how God is challenging you to show that through your tithes and offerings to the church. This Sunday is Ingathering Sunday, and we will have a chance for everyone to bring forward their pledge cards and Time and Talent sheets. If you cannot join us in person, please feel free to mail your cards to the church. And may your generosity always result in thanksgiving to God!
Stewardship Sunday is this weekend. If you did not receive a pledge card in the mail, we will have additional copies for you on Sunday morning. You can also contact the church office to have one mailed to you. Please be in prayer about how God is calling you to honor Him this year with your money and life.
Our Giving Trees will be up this Sunday with gift requests for children and families in need from the Brookline Food Pantry as well as for children in our church, KKCP preschool, and Jubilee. If you know of any children who would be blessed by a gift, please speak with Pastor Linda or call the church office at 412-531-3387 or email@example.com .
Outdoor Nativity and Christmas Tree Lighting - December 6:
We're planning to install a new nativity scene on our lawn this year, along with a lighted Christmas tree with members' decorations. Please mark your calendars now and plan to join us on Sunday, December 6 at 4:30 p.m. as we sing carols around the nativity, light our new tree and add our decorations. We'll be providing information soon with the details and ideas for the ornaments members can contribute for display.
We are now offering in-person Sunday School for all ages. We only have three rooms in the church with enough space and ventilation to be able to gather safely, so we will only have three groups for now: Adults will meet in the sanctuary, Children in the Fellowship Hall, and Youth in the MacDonald Room. The unified adult class is sponsored by the Lamplighters and will be a hybrid format, so those who want to attend via Zoom will be able to do so. This is the link to log in at 11:15 - https://duq.zoom.us/j/97403542430 Pastor Steve will be leading the class, based on the Introduction to the Bible class he also teaches at Duquesne University. If you would like to be on the email list for the adult class, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In addition to these Sunday School offerings, we have several small groups meeting online almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, and coed groups, as well as the Lamplighters Sunday School class. The women’s group is studying 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and the men’s group are studying the Bible’s guidance about issues of race and justice. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or email@example.com
Hour of Prayer:
A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! You can use this link to connect from a computer, tablet, or mobile phone: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416?pwd=NmZoNDV3dDNqSVFubW82TEx0bll0Zz09 . You can also call in from a regular phone – dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416 and add the password 798565. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at email@example.com, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.