Easter - 2018

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving in AWE redeems the past!

“Awe” is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful. In our Text Paul commends the Corinthian believers by praising their achievments in faith, speech, knowledge, passion, love… it is looking at your past and giving God the glory for where you have been and what He has brought you through. In looking at the past, Paul reminds the followers of Jesus not to give up being as faithful in giving.

Giving in Awe recognizing that the past is the past and we can give in awe in order to redeem the past. It is God that has carried us and it is God that has forgiven us and it is God that deserves the Glory for our very survival.

My favorite part of Christmas is to read Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol" and watch the Musical “Scrooge.” Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, who against his will, takes him back to a time when he was still a young man. Scrooge sees himself proposing to the woman he loved, a woman who later breaks their engagement because she realizes that he has come to love money more than her. As Scrooge watches the scene unfold, we can see the emotions playing out over his face. We can imagine what is going through his mind: What a fool he had been! How his life would have been different if he had married, if his heart hadn’t been hardened by the love of money. Perhaps that young man wouldn’t have become this wretched, bitter old miser.

Consider this: How would you like to be visited by the ghost of your past? How would you like to go back and relive your sins, your mistakes, the foolish choices that changed your life? How would you like to be forced to watch helplessly, knowing what the outcome is going to be, unable to do anything to change the result, feeling the sharp pain of regret at not having taken the other path, or at least wondering what would have happened had your choices been different. Well, for most people, there’s really no need for a nighttime visit from one of Charles Dickens’ three spirits. Because we do it to ourselves…we replay the past, again and again. We see it projected on the screen of our minds. Don’t you sometimes wish you could go back and talk to yourself at those key moments, talk to that person in the movie of your life, warn them, tell them where the road they’re taking will lead?

We’ve all experienced regret over the past. It takes many forms:

·      Regret over marriage. Imagining how much happier your life would have been if you had married someone other that person sitting next to you. Or if you’d never married that person you’re divorced from.
Regret over divorce. Regret over broken relationships of all kinds.
·      Regret over mistakes you made raising your kids.
·      Regret over bad career moves, missed business opportunities, poor vocational choices.
·      Regret at not following God’s call to the ministry, or His call to become a missionary.
·      In general, regret over all kinds of sins and their consequences. [You fill in the blank].

Now, sorrow over sin can by healthy, up to a point. It can help us learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them. This is the "sadder but wiser" phenomenon. It can lead to repentance and forgiveness. But regret is anything but helpful; it’s destructive and debilitating. It allows the sins and mistakes of the past to reach out and poison our present. And if it’s not handled appropriately, it will just lead to more wrong choices and more regret, in a vicious cycle. As Paul writes,

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." -- 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)

Giving in awe over a forgiven past…redeems the past. God loves you and has and is forgiving you in everything you have done. When you respond by living in thanksgiving and awe to HIM…you sacrifice and give. What your giving to the church is the first thing on your mind … it forces you to forget your past and live in the present. 

God is Good... You know I love ya, Don

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