Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As I sit to write this letter, my news home page is filled with articles about the upcoming MEGA Millions ($1.6 Billion) and Power Ball ($654 Million) drawings. As I was shopping today, friends finding each other in the store began talking about the lotteries and all the possibilities. Wherever you go right now, people are talking about what they would buy if they had big bucks. IF they got big bucks they would buy computer systems, entertainment centers, and the necessary house to put it all in. They would buy a better wardrobe or other such things the wealthy need. One friend that I was talking to said “Pastor if I win, I’ll give your church and my church each a million dollars.” (My mind immediately began to think about 10% tithing to God’s mission in the world . . . . . but I digress).
These conversations seem to always be followed by a moment or two of silence until someone says, “Do you think we would actually be happier with all that money or fame?” The general consensus is, “Probably not ~ not really.”
But we’d try! We DO try. We work hard, spend time away from our families, save, grasp, and cling to what we have. We do not like to give or spend our money. Often our giving comes from a place that feels like we are pressured to give. Maybe we really DO think we’d be happier if we had all those things.
Here is the part where we could talk about all the things money can’t buy. Take love for instance. Maybe health, a little more time on this earth, stuff like that. We are being told all the time that money CAN buy such things. We are tempted to say that, at least, money could help things along a bit. But we know deep in our hearts that some of the best things are free, they are gifts; family for instance, or a spouse to share it with. And we shouldn’t forget eternal life and salvation. This is the biggest gift of all. God loves you enough to send Jesus for you. The cross of Jesus is forgiveness of sin and a new life for you to live, now and forever. All the money in the world can’t buy you that! So let me take this moment to tell you how much Jesus loves you. To announce to you, right where you sit reading this, that your sins are forgiven - In Jesus’ name, forgiven.
In this month in which we set aside time to give thanks we have an opportunity to say a big, out loud thanks for all those things with which we were blessed. We might even get our family and friends (the ones you can’t buy) around us and have a chance to say thanks to them for all they mean to us. We will certainly be thankful to God for them. We could do it over a big meal where we stuff ourselves silly and fall asleep watching the football game on T.V. (sorry – Broncos don’t play this year on Thanksgiving). Thank you for meat and vegetables and pie (Pecan is my favorite). Thanks for potatoes and fresh bread and pie. And we can’t forget pie (Hint! Hint!). But most of all we can say thanks to God for salvation and new life because of Jesus. It is the greatest gift we will ever have. All the money, fame or power in this world can’t give that to you. Only God can – and does. Thanks be to God!
Pr. Paul <><
p.s. Did you know??? On Sunday, November 4, we will be remembering the saints in our lives. Those who now sit at the eternal banquet table, and those new saints in our lives that bring us joy and new life. Please join us for this very special and powerful service.
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said??? “I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.”