Sacrificial Giving

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Our church is currently involved in a stewardship program that is asking members to make a sacrificial gift over a three year period.  We are trying to pay off the mortgage of our church school as well as take care of some of the needs of our building.

Now, I am retired and have a limited income.  I already give.  What else can I sacrifice?  I prayed about this.  I know that I can’t out give the Lord.  Several years ago I preached a stewardship sermon about making a commitment to the Lord.  In the sermon, I gave my best fishing reel to our Prison Ministry for their auction.  Before I finished greeting people at the door on the way out, someone had already donated money to the Prison Ministry and told them to give me back my reel!  What a blessing!  I don’t even know who did it.

Well, as I was praying about this new commitment, I kept asking, “Lord, what do you want me to sacrifice?”  It occurred to me that the only thing that would be a sacrifice for me would be to give up fishing for three years.  I asked, “Is it time for me to give up fishing?”  The answer came back, “No.”  Fishing is my release.  But then the idea came to me to give up my fishing tackle money for the next three years.  I lose hooks, rigs, and lures of every kind; and my budget is $200 a year to replace them.  So I decided to commit my $600 as I get it in the next three years.  When I run out of hooks, rigs, and lures, that will be the end of my fishing.  Right now it is striper season, and I’m looking forward to March when shad fishing starts.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but about two weeks after I made this commitment, my friend Erick gave me a large zip bag of lures.  He said he has more that he’ll give me as he sorts his out.  He didn’t know about my pledge.  Confirmation from God of my commitment to Him.  Amazing!

God already owns everything, including me.  And when things get tough and I need to get away, I still can go fishing to relax and think.  God does love a cheerful giver!

 

Shopping and the Cost of Living

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I don’t like to shop.  Every time I go to a store, I can’t get everything that I want.  They don’t have it.  The last time I went to Green Top, they had the plastic but not the strong slider hooks.  So I didn’t buy anything.

Today I went with my wife to the grocery store because fishing was canceled.  Did you know that toilet paper costs seven dollars?  And that was the sale price.  I couldn’t believe it.  There is no way that a package of twelve rolls of toilet paper should cost seven dollars!  I used to work for James River Paper Company (one of their products was toilet paper).  My wife says that she can’t send me to the store because I would come back with nothing.

Something is terribly wrong with our economy.  I guess I have lived too long.  That brings me to another subject:  health insurance and hospital costs.  At my age, it is cheaper to die than go into a hospital.  I’m not afraid to die.  It happens all the time.  And to die in Christ, there is no better comfort.  When Jesus returns, a better life is promised.  Maybe we won’t need any toilet paper!

 

Prices at the Pumps vs. Store Prices

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It’s great that the price of gas has gone down; but the strange thing is that the price of other things, even groceries, have stayed the same or even gone up.  Prices of goods went up when fuel was more expensive.  They claimed they had to pay more for delivery.  With lower fuel prices, we should be seeing lower prices in the stores.  There is no way that mayonnaise should cost more than a dollar.  My wife can make her own with very simple ingredients!   Even our electricity bill hasn’t gone down.  We are still paying extra for fuel charges.

I challenge you not to buy anything unless you really need it.  If more of us don’t buy, prices will come down.

I have lived too long.  I can remember where there was no sales tax or gas tax.  Our government wants people to depend on them.  I challenge you to trust in God and use the talents and gifts He gives you to take care of yourself.  There is a time coming when greed will be gone at Jesus’ second coming.  Then we will experience the Bible’s and heaven’s economy, Matthew 24:14.  Try not to be a part of this economy now.  Try Matthew 6:33.