Lutheran Church Extension Fund

When Jesus Appears... In Generosity!

Reading time: two minutes The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25 can get tricky.  Are our good works (“… you fed me, …you visited me” etc.) the cause of our salvation?  Certainly not.  We often say, “Works are just evidence of saving faith.”  Well, yes, but does that do justice to the text?   “Come…, for I was hungry and you fed me” If, as Jeff Gibbs suggests, the parable is connected to the sending of the disciples in Matthew 10, (no extra clothes, no extra money, no extra shoes, facing sickness and persecution) then those who provide support for the bearers of the good news are offering care to the Lord Jesus. I can’t speak for my fellow pastors or for educators, but it’s pretty humbling to think that those who in faith give generously to pay my salary are credited with saving faith in the gospel I share. When people support me by their gifts, “You did it unto me,” Jesus said. In the last few weeks we’ve worked our way around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel considering that as we live the balanced, healthy life that God intends, we’ll see Jesus making His appearance.  We see it in the grace of a listening ear, in the grace of baptismal renewal, in the grace of confession and absolution. It’s one thing to consider our daily bread and “all that we need to support this body and life” as gifts of our loving Father in heaven.  Our Lord appears in every breath we take, every morsel we lift to our mouths.  By the gift of faith, that’s easy to see. It’s a little harder, and quite humbling, to consider that as the offering basket is brought forward and placed in my hands, the people of God are saying, “We’ve seen our Savior Jesus hungry and thirsty and in need, Pastor, when we see the one He sent to us bearing the good news of His love.  Don’t shake the dust off of your feet.” The offering basket brought forward is the Lord’s people saying, “We welcome you, offering platePastor, into our homes.  When we see you, we see Jesus.” I’m reminded of the Greeks who said to Philip, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:21).  Jesus said, “He who receives you receives me” (Matthew 10:40).  When the people of God provide for those whom He has sent, they are welcoming the Lord Jesus. How thankful I am for the faithfulness and generosity of the people of God! Thanks for reading. A Congregational Wellness Weekend is designed to help create a ministry environment at your church or school where professional church workers can thrive and serve joyfully in their calling at top capacity. Let’s start the conversation today! Find more information on our website or contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman to learn more.