Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Bethany Bullet - Week of March 26, 2017

Sermon: “The Transformative Power of a Gift”

Outside of Jesus’ own Resurrection, the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels is the feeding of the five thousand.  Of all the miracles Jesus worked, it is that miracle that stands out as unique.  Jesus, who never did anything unintentionally, involved others in the miraculous feeding.  The disciple who pondered how to feed the crowd, the child whose lunch was offered, the twelve who helped distribute the meal; each of these played a role in the event.  True, while ONLY Jesus worked the miracle, He intentionally chose to use the gifts and service of others to bless the recipients of His miraculous action.

Our Renaissance at Bethany recognizes that the Lord works through His people for the sake of His people, intimate followers, and the crowd alike.  In other words, we know that Jesus blesses through Bethany and that He works through the gifts and talents and service of the people of Bethany to bring about His blessings to those at Bethany and those outside of Bethany. 

The child in the account of this miracle, recorded in each Gospel, had two small fish and five barley loaves.  If that boy would have run away from the disciples and kept his lunch unto himself it would have remained a fine meal.  Only in turning his lunch over to Jesus did it become a miracle worthy of being recorded in each Gospel. 

Of course, the details of what happened later in the day are unknown to us.  There is a good chance that the boy went home and had to tell his mom that the disciples of Jesus “stole” his lunch and then Jesus fed 5000 people with it.  There is also a good chance that mom didn’t immediately believe this report.  Perhaps she came to trust her son the following day at the market or well when a neighbor who was in attendance confirmed the miracle; maybe when she read the record in a Gospel 40 years later; maybe when in heaven she struck up a conversation with someone who said they started following Jesus the day He fed thousands with a little boys lunch which was freely offered. 

Two things are certain, that offering changed eternities for some and all of us have an offering we too can freely and sacrificially turn over to Jesus.

Some of us at Bethany have “small fish” and “barley loaves” so to speak, while others of us have “King Salmon” and “large French baguettes”.  While we the members of Bethany will not all offer equal gifts, we can each offer an equal sacrifice.  We each offer an equal sacrifice when we offer to our God something that is ours (which is actually really His – remember our stuff is not our stuff) for His sacred purpose.  The miraculous is at the heart of the Renaissance as renewal, restoration and revitalization are all miraculous works of God accomplished in God’s Son even when the means are the gifts of God’s people.

Equal sacrifice means that our Renaissance commitment isn’t quite as easy as giving that which won’t be missed.  Some of us will give up Starbucks other will give stock, some will give-up vacation others vacation property, some will forsake a monthly evening of entertainment for three years others will give an investment product that has been growing for years.  While our gifts will vary and not be equal in amount or size or duration, when these gifts are given in faith and trust and when that which is offered is something that will be missed we will know the joy of equal sacrifice.

These commitments will also be sacrificial gifts because they are gifts given to our Lord’s Renaissance at Bethany that are over and above regular tithes and offerings.  Both gifts, our tithes and our offerings, and our sacrificial gifts to the Renaissance result in stories we may never know the details of but we can be confident that the conclusion thereof is an eternal offering of glory and praise to God in Christ, the author of the Renaissance of souls and sacred spaces here at Bethany.

If you have not yet picked up your Renaissance Commitment Card you can get them in the church office. Return it to the church office.  Please put C/O Renaissance on the envelope.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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