Updated: Jan 15
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited
or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God,
who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
-- 1 Timothy 6:17
Dear friends and members of Atonement,
I’ve heard it said, “You can’t out-give God,” and I believe it. How blessed we are to have a God who gives us...
“daily and abundantly
shoes and clothing,
food and drink,
house and farm,
spouse and children,
fields, livestock, and all property
along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life…”
- Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Apostles’ Creed First Article
We can’t out-give God, but his love and grace, his mercy and care set the pattern for our own lives. God doesn’t hold back, but rushes to our side to be present in our needs and struggles. He heals our pain, guides our ways, and gives us a part in his community, the church. Through his healing and guiding ways, he gives us a chance to help with his own mission. He gives us a chance to make a difference and share his love.
Here are some examples we’ve seen lately of God’s generosity being lived out by his people…
Just this last Sunday we heard about the devastating earthquake in Puerto Rico. It hit with a magnitude of 5.9, causing island-wide power outages and alterations of the landscape visible from space. We prayed for the victims and rescue workers, but we went even farther and took up a special offering. That one Sunday, the day after the disaster, members of Atonement donated over $1000 to help the victims.
Our food pantry has had a small cargo van which they have used to pick up food from area stores. The van had been requiring more and more maintenance, and we started looking for a replacement. One of our board members talked to a couple members from her home church in Tampa, and they each donated $10,000 to help us purchase a newer, larger van! This new van has cut down on safety concerns and greatly reduced the number of trips we need to make to pick up food. Last Wednesday, the food pantry volunteers encircled the new van and prayed over it, blessed it, and thanked our generous God for all his good gifts.
“Friendship Hall” is the name of the new building that stands in front of our church. Last November, we raised over $14,000 in a special appeal to begin outfitting the building for regular use by ministries, teams, and community partners. Shortly afterwards, I received a call from our Florida-Bahamas Synod. They have been sharing the story of our ministry and our new building with ELCA congregations around the country. Those congregations have been donating to help us with our efforts in support of the work we are doing here at Atonement. Once the money comes in, our Bishop’s Assistant told me he wants to personally bring us the check.
All this generosity, from our friends, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in Christ… but all of it ultimately comes from God. This year as part of our emphasis on spiritual and congregational vitality, we want to invite you to Honor Generosity with us. Next month you will be hearing more about the part we all have in sharing God’s generous love.
We want to honor YOUR generosity and thank you for all you do in offering thanks to God by supporting the ministries and work we do at Atonement. We want to honor the generosity of the friends and members who volunteer, work hard, lead, share, pray and give in God’s name. And most of all, we want to honor the generosity of our trustworthy and amazing God. He’s there every day for us and no matter what we do, we can never out-give him.