Notes from the leadership journey!

Category Archives: Sermons by Joleen

Extravagant Generosity

Jesus, consistent with the Old Testament,  speaks unabashedly and repeatedly about wealth, greed and generosity. In Mark 12.41-44, Jesus relates a story comparing the giving of the rich to that of poor widow who gives two very small copper coins. Jesus comments …

They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.

There are many things that can distract us from faithful living, and money is one of them. We can become distracted by working too long and too hard, by comparing what we have with what  others have or by desiring earthly recognition for our giving, desiring our reward on earth and by giving with the wrong motivations.

What motivated the generosity of the poor widow that Jesus observed?

It was NOT the religious system; the religious system was corrupt. Prior to this passage, Jesus says, “Watch out for the teachers of the law … They devour widows’ houses …” We cannot base our generosity on the Church, the denomination, or the pastor. Our giving is to God.

The widow did NOT give out of her abundance, but out of her poverty. She gave everything she had to live on. She sacrificially gave all that she had as Jesus in two days would give his life on a cross for us.

The widow did NOT give in a showy manner, as the rich “threw” their money in such a way as to make some noise. The widow “put” her money in. No one needed to know but God. And God did see, just as Jesus saw. No offering goes unnoticed by God.

Her offering was small in value, but big on proportion. Some point to tithing as an Old Testament teaching, not present in the New Testament. Here Jesus lifts up proportional giving as: “all she had to live on.”

The widow was faithful and spiritually mature. She was thankful to God for his provision; she knew it was God who provided and cared for her. Implicit in this passage, she is a joyful giver–her attitude is right.

Questions for Reflection

  1. From whom have you learned your patterns of giving?
  2. Are you continuing to learn? Every aspect of our lives is touched, including our giving, when we grow in Christ.
  3. What proportion of your income do you give? Have you ever figured out the percent of your income that you give? If not, why? Why are you resistant?
  4. In what way does this story speak to you, inspire, touch you? To whom do you relate: the rich, the poor widow, the disciples gathered around Jesus to hear him teach?
  5. Finally, who do you love? In whom do you trust? Have you found your purpose in sharing Christ with others?

Faith and Works: The Test of Faith

I presented the sermon at last Thursday’s Community Lenten Lunch service here in Clearfield. My sermon followed the reading of John 6.1-15. A Group Workcamp is coming to Clearfield, June 20-26, 2010. Details about the Clearfield trip can be found here. Who would think that 430+ youth from all around the U.S. would want toContinue →

The Blessing of a New Day

What if … we were to consider each day a blessing of God? Drew Carey debuted the new game show The Power of 10 last week. The public is asked different questions, polled and the contestants have to guess what percentage answered a specific way. The second airing asked a question something like this, “WhatContinue →

The Newness of the Morning

The mercies of the Lord are new every morning. The church is a short distance from home, so I usually walk there. Sometimes I haven’t taken a flashlight with me and when I get out of a meeting at night, a dreary night, I can hit a place of complete darkness. A bit of fearContinue →

Who am I?

Exodus 3.1-10 Moses and the Burning Bush, A sermon for Lenten Community Service I don’t know if you’ve ever done anything stupid before, but I know I have. And you might say Moses did. When he sees an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew, he reacts. That’s a good thing. He knew what he saw wasn’t right.Continue →

Navigating Life

Today, we concluded our series on “Navigating Life: Doing Life God’s Way!” We believe it was an important series; we certainly hope that it was helpful for the hrist followers in our congregations! We don’t always collaborate on our sermon series, but this series grew out of a conversation we had while traveling to TennesseeContinue →

God is Good

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. Since Don Moen and Paul Overstreet wrote and recorded a song by the title, God Is Good All The Time, this has become a popular greeting among church folk. And it speaks a great truth: God alone is good. Luke 18.18-19 – AContinue →