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We give from what God provides

September 29, 2023

Daily Scripture

2 Corinthians 8:9-15, 9:7-8

2 Corinthians 8
9 You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty.
10 I’m giving you my opinion about this. It’s to your advantage to do this, since you not only started to do it last year but you wanted to do it too. 11 Now finish the job as well so that you finish it with as much enthusiasm as you started, given what you can afford. 12 A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly. 13 It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. 14 At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. 15 As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little [Exodus 16:18].

2 Corinthians 9
7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

This week’s GPS continues to focus on the Bible reasons for Resurrection’s current “Generation to Generation” campaign. For more information as you prayerfully move to finalize the commitment you want to make next weekend, click here. We’ll receive commitments at worship. If you can’t be there, you can also make your prayerful commitment through the website.

The apostle Paul asked his relatively well-off Gentile Christian converts in Corinth (and in other cities) to give for a fund to help Hebrew Christians in Jerusalem, who faced persecution and hardship. The Gentile Christians had clearly been enthusiastic when the apostle first raised the project. It mattered, he said, that people finish the project with as much generous enthusiasm as they showed at the start. As Jesus gave himself freely for us, he wanted them to give freely, not under any kind of coercion.

  • Giving is personal. Paul made it plain that God does not compare the amount we give to what others give. What matters is the spirit in which we give, in proportion to the resources we have available. Plan to discuss with family, or with a trusted friend, your expectations or motivations for giving. How can you give cheerfully, not because of any kind of pressure?
  • What standards or guidelines do you use to discern the difference between “wants” and “needs” in your decisions about what to spend on yourself, and what to give? Have you ever given to something important even though you felt that “my little gift can’t make much difference,” and then found great satisfaction afterward at having been part of that worthwhile effort?

Dear God, keep growing my ability to be a generous person—with my abilities and gifts, my words, and yes, with my money. Help me be grateful in all I do, remembering it was you who first gave to me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe and his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 and were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew and Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.                                                     

I’ve been on a kick lately researching fascinating snippets of Kansas state history, like two pre-Presidential visits during the Bleeding Kansas era: one by Abraham Lincoln to campaign for the Presidency (It worked!) & one by Chester Arthur to demonstrate his manliness to his girlfriend’s father (It didn’t!). I would submit that one of the stories, The Great Grasshopper Plague of 1874, could add some context to this week’s theme. (Of all the days to run out of antacid tablets in my desk drawer–Editor.)

In July of 1874, without warning, a swarm of an estimated 120 billion to 12.5 trillion grasshoppers (technically known as Rocky Mountain Locusts) descended on the Great Plains States, impacting Kansas the worst. A particularly hot/dry spring & summer enhanced the breeding conditions for the grasshoppers, leading to this huge infestation. News accounts reported that the grasshopper invasion was so thick, the sun was blocked for up to 6 hours at a time. Some said the grasshoppers looked like snowflakes falling to the earth.

     Aside: Some suggest that these flying locusts were the original flew bug.

The grasshoppers would pile up on the ground, sometimes a foot high. The insects ate crops, tree bark, the wool off sheep’s backs, harnesses & saddles, clothing, & even pitchfork handles. When they infiltrated homes, the grasshoppers chewed up carpet, drapes, clothing, towels, books & paper, you name it. Due to the gooey grasshopper debris coating the tracks, train wheels had trouble getting traction & slipped/slid along the rails.

To combat the infestation, folks would rake the grasshoppers into piles, like leaves, & set them afire. Some would pull plows rigged with wet tar to capture the grasshoppers. None of these efforts could keep pace with the invasion.

     Aside: Entomologists are working on an App to help you identify any kind of insect. Unfortunately, some bugs
     are delaying its release.

The infestation only lasted 10 days & the wind carried the grasshoppers off to another locale. However, the Kansas communities were ravaged. No crops remained untouched. There was no food for settlers or livestock.

The devastation was so complete, government leaders feared famine-like conditions across the state. The state of Kansas approved $73,000 in relief funds, the U.S. Army supplied the region with clothing, blankets, & rations, & the railroad companies offered to ship food & supplies to Kansas for free to help the settlers survive the upcoming harsh winter. 

Today, one could imagine headlines proclaiming that this was divine judgment for some political decision or was due to climate change. Personally, I’d be perusing Exodus 10:12-23 to see what might be coming next. Spoiler Alert: I’d be buying candles & kerosene lamps from Amazon by the caseload. (Public Service Note for any who suffer from orthopterophobia, the fear of grasshoppers: 2 harsh winters in 1878-79 & the advent of insecticides caused the extinction of the Rocky Mountain Locust.)

Interesting history, but you might be politely asking, “So what?” (Indeed – Editor.) Well, our story had a church chapter. In the midst of these Armageddon-like circumstances, the Methodist congregation in Hutchinson, Kansas remained undaunted in laying the foundation for their church. They knew God’s presence was important to their community during this time of extreme strife. They believed the church could serve as a place of comfort, a source of strength, & a beacon of hope during future trials not yet even imagined.

So the congregation busily laid the foundation of their church, even as the cement tubs used to mix mortar were also packed with grasshoppers. This church became legendary as “The Grasshopper Church.” Through the determination of our brothers & sisters in Christ, this congregation has served its community through World Wars, epidemics, droughts/dust bowls, & eras of economic turmoil for nearly 150 years.

     Aside: Technically, if a grasshopper is part of a religious structure, it is re-classified as a Praying Mantis.

 If this undaunted congregation in central Kansas could persevere through the unfathomable challenges of 1874 to remain focused on ensuring God’s presence for future generations, then the least we can do is go & do likewise.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve joined a sports fantasy league with a group of local entomologists. (Baseball or Football?–Editor) Neither–Cricket.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.