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Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to be good, rich in good deeds, and generous and willing to share.
-1 Timothy 6: 17-18

I was at the nursing home for Bible Study the other day and we were talking about ways to follow God. One of the residents had a question—“Pastor how do you tithe if you have no money?” After telling her that was a good question, I asked them if money was the measure of how much God loved us or we loved God. They agreed that money and God’s love were not the same thing. “But God wants you to give to him. What is at your disposal is at God’s if you follow that. So I have to give what I have to God.” We talked some more and looked at some examples like Ananias and Sapphira from Acts 5 who sold a house but held some back and fell dead from lying about it. “Sounds like it is money again,” said one resident. “Not true,” chimed in another, “it’s about greed. You see they had all that money at their disposal—that is they weren’t living off of it. It was extra. That you give to God. But greed isn’t just about money. It’s about hording other things for yourself too."

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours. –I Corinthians 1:2

Paul was writing to a group that sometimes was divided, sometimes together but not clear about who or what the church was. Paul was writing to a time when some had strong understandings of membership and fellowship and others had no or little understanding of that. Paul was writing to a divided people. And he set forth one truth of the Gospel— the Church is all those sanctified (that is washed clean and made holy) by Christ, those Christ calls to be holy, and those in all places and all cultures and all colors and all back-grounds who call on Jesus. Who defines the church? God does. We in America are so used to making our own decisions. Many even think they are the ones who choose to be a part of the church. The truth is not that way. Will we listen?

By a vote of the vast majority of the presbyteries this month, the PC(USA) has added a new phrase to the ministry of members section of the Book of Order (G-1.0304), although the idea and the need to do this has been contained in the Directory for Worship (W-7.5000) since reunion in 1989, so a mandated part of our church order. The phrase is “caring for God’s creation”, but what it really means is stewardship. Stewardship is caring for and using properly that which another owns. All creation is really God’s!

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