Made for More Wk 4: Conduit of God’s Grace

Made for More Wk 4: Conduit of God’s Grace

November 7 – Made for More Week 4 – Conduit of God’s Grace

We are all called into Jesus’ vision and mission, which means we are made for more. We are called to be a conduit of God’s grace. But what does that mean?

A conduit is described as a channel for conveying something, like water or electricity. So how are we a conduit for God’s grace? By applying what we read in our first reading from the Old Testament book so 1st Kings.

In our first reading, Elijah asks the widow to go and bake him a little cake to eat… BEFORE she makes anything for herself or her son! Elijah had promised her that if she did she would have enough for her and her son. If Elijah’s words did not come true, she would have used up the last of her provisions feeding him. So, she was faced with a difficult choice:
she could trust only in what she could see and feel and get one more meal for herself and son, or she could take a chance on this wandering prophet’s word, give up the tangible flour and oil she had in her possession, and hope for the miracle he promised.This remarkable woman chose the more difficult option.

As a result, she and her son not only had enough for another day, but for another year.
This was an act of faith! God rewarded her for being a conduit of His grace by giving what she had for the good of another. And, as Elijah promised, God blessed her.

There are some valuable principles here for our own lives about our possessions, specifically money. Now I’m not telling you that you should give all you have to the church or charity, but it does turn out that God has a lot to say about money, because he knows how much we need it and how much we worry about it. He knows how essential it is to our daily lives, and, at the same time, how it can seem to just slip through our fingers. Money is in fact a spiritual issue. It’s a spiritual issue because so easily we can grow to trust in money rather than grow to trust in God. It’s very interesting that the more industrialized a country becomes, the more it moves from a third world to first world country, where almost all needs are met by profit, that the faith of people begins to fall, and it becomes less and less important.

It’s a spiritual issue because wherever our money goes, our hearts go as well. And here’s why this matters to you: because money should serve you and not the other way around.

That’s what God intends. That’s the proper place. That’s the proper relationship we are to have with money. God wants for us to be in control of our money and to use it as a tool for good purposes, like honoring Him and helping other people. God doesn’t want us to be worried or stressed about our finances. That’s why Jesus talked about it, and that’s why we talk about it as well.

Like the woman in the first reading who was very concerned about her and her son. If she gave too much, they wouldn’t have enough to survive. It was a tough decision. She trusted Elijah’s word, and by extension, God’s promise to take care of her.  She realized that what she had was God’s, and that God generously blesses those who give, especially when giving hurts. We call it sacrificial giving for a reason.

The source of your possessions and income is not your business, it’s not the company that you work for, it’s not even your investments, it’s God. God is the source, and those are simply the channels that he uses to bless you. God is the owner, and we are his money managers. We are his stewards. The money that we have in our hands is only there for a little while as a loan from God, and then it goes to somebody else.

The woman in our reading knew that all too well. In our day we would say she was living pay check to pay check. She wasn’t rich. Giving hurt, and in this case could have meant her life. Some of us here know what it’s like to live pay check to pay check. Maybe that’s you. But lots of us have enough, probably more than we need. For her, giving had to be learned.

In our day, we are used to being asked to give to things. It can be tough to decide what we give to and what we don’t. But as Christians the first thing we should think of is the church, God’s people. This is why we say that giving should be a priority in your budget. It should be the first thing in your budget, so you give to God first. God teaches us all throughout Scripture that if we do, he will bless us.

In the story, Elijah asked the woman to make his cake first, and then she would receive blessings. Whatever area of your life you want God to bless, put him first. If you want God to bless your time, put him first in your schedule. If you want God to bless your family, put him first in your family. If you want God to bless your business, put him first in your business. If you want God to bless your finances, put him first in your budget.  It is giving to God first that is the key to financial peace. It’s giving, not prayer, that puts God first in our finances.

He wants to bless your finances, and he wants what your money represents, your life and your heart, because it’s in giving him your life and your heart that you will find fulfillment. He’s trying to tell you that you are made for more. You are made to be a conduit of His grace!

At Saint Mary the most helpful way to give and to put God first in your finances is through online giving. You automate what’s important. It is the way almost 50% of the giving households of our parish give to support the mission and work of this church.  If you’d like to sign up for online giving, you can simply go to our website and select the Give icon, or call the office and we will walk you through it.

If you put a check or cash in the offertory basket each week. Thank you! Going forward, I ask you to please use our online giving system, so we can create a more accurate budget to fund our mission and ministries. We encourage you, and challenge you, to use your offertory commitment card to take this next step. It’s not about where you are on the chart, it’s about taking the next step. Whether that means giving for the first time or possibly increasing your giving.

God will bless you for supporting his mission through our parish.