Monday, November 24, 2014


As I was reading through the book Contagious Generosity, I was struck by a quote from famous author John Grisham. Here it is: “My wife and I measure the success of the year on how much we give away. The bulk of it goes to chuch and related activities.”  Being a Grisham book fan, [reading being one of my two favorite pastimes… the other one is ‘hanging’ out with grandchildren], I meditated on these two statements and John Grisham’s stock rose several points in my estimation. His brief testimony here tells me a lot about him. Taking him at his word, I learn something of his values, hisapproach to life and his elevated view of the church.
His values…Grisham measures success differently than most well published authors. I am sure that he is a multimillionaire, but this view of success is not related to getting published or selling more than a million copies of one of his many courtroom novels. He looks at achievement with the eyes of a mature Christ-follower. He is not caught up in the value system of the literary capitalist. Success means something more to him than having a book on the New York Times Bestseller list.
His approach to life…He is not as concerned with the receiving as he is giving. He sounds like he does not keep as close an eye on his income as he does his outflow. He has apparently embraced the ethic of Jesus that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ You rarely hear of this in well-known people; but when you do, it is refreshing. Grisham has made the transition from success to significance, from wealth to generosity, from achievement to service, from status to relationships.
His view of the church…The fact that the bulk of his giving is to and through the church is a huge statement about his spiritual maturity and wise judgment.  Giving through the church insures that the missionary and benevolent work you support has been pre-qualified and is recommended after due diligence by the elders.  It also means that you are balancing your giving, spreading it between both local outreach and global missions, and as well as various benevolent works. You trust the wisdom of the people who will be held accountable by God for their decisions about where the church’s financial support is distributed. But, most of all, when you give to and through the church, your giving is done for the glory and in the name of Jesus. Christ and His church are the places that people will look in gratitude for the faith they have embraced or the help they have received.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Colossians 3:17 NIV]
Pray with me…Lord, this morning I am thankful for the testimonies of people known and unknown, celebrated and overlooked, who demonstrate the rock solid values of a life well-lived according to Your values and priorities. Thank you Father, for the examples in your word and in contemporary life that inspire and encourage your best in us. May we always be discerning, not just about what is right and wrong, but about what is good and best. And, may we never get to the place we think we know it all. Keep us teachable…In Jesus’ dear name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

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