We live in a day and age where there is a lot of conversation about “value”. Is this a good value? Will this hold its value? Where’s the value add to this experience? We tend to speak of value in financial terms mainly. But what if the financial value of something was determined by the character value that it supported, developed, or demonstrated? That’s a different way of thinking about value.
We have launched into our annual stewardship emphasis here at Coker. I am always excited to spend dedicated time thinking back on what God has done in the past year and looking ahead through prayer and discernment about where God might be calling us in the future. As we do this, it’s easy to get into a mindset that simply asks, “Is my financial support of this ministry a good value?” This year though, I wonder if we might ask a different question. What if we asked, “Which of MY values are driving my generosity toward Coker?” This is an entirely different question.
The question of which character values drive our generosity puts the emphasis back to what God is trying to do in us. It makes generosity a matter of discipleship – which it is. We are not all at the same place in our relationship with Jesus and thus we are not all at the same place in the different aspects of our faith journey – our knowledge of scripture, our spiritual disciplines, our financial generosity toward the church. In each of these things the goal is growth; growth toward the standards that Jesus has set.
This past Sunday we started our new sermon series, “Coker Tomorrow” and in this series we said that we would be looking at the values – the character attributes – that guide our church’s ministry. Once again, those values are:
- We share the message of Jesus
- We are ready to help
- We are all in this together
- It is our responsibility
I am anxious to travel this road with you as we all deepen our discipleship and grow closer to our God through a time of intentional prayer and discernment. I would ask you to join me in praying very specifically for our church in this time. First, pray for God to give us vision to lead people outside of the church into the incredible love of God and to lead people inside the church deeper into that love. Second, pray that God would open doors and create opportunity for us to serve others in our community and beyond in all of the ways that Jesus served people – proclaiming good news to those on the margins, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and announcing the reign of God. Third, pray that God would provide the resources necessary for Coker to join Him through the power of His Holy Spirit in changing the world.
Thanks to all of you for what you do each day for Jesus through the ministry of Coker United Methodist church. I can’t wait to see where God will take us next.