Today’s (Th 05/01/2017) FDRs are taken from Deuteronomy 26:1-15 and 3 John and can be read by clicking on this composite link.
We are challenged to think about our own FoMo’s through the sermon at our 8am and 10am Figtree services this last Sunday. This passage challenges us in this area and specifically directs and encourages us to make regular provision by tithe to our place of worship. In this specific Hebrew context it is to be done in the Temple of God in Jerusalem each year from their first fruits of their labours. Additionally for the strangers, fatherless and widows as noted in the recited thanksgiving prayer, each three years.
So for the Hebrews specifically and now to us by the New Covenant, we are to make provision for our church and also for the less fortunate. This applies to us today because of the love showered on us by God through His gift of our Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus’ teachings about our concern and provision for others.
You may have observed a short ceremony in some of our services after the offertory is collected. The offertory is brought forward to the service leader and a short, often not broadcast ceremony, is completed in which the service leader dedicates the offertory to the Glory of God and His work and acknowledges that these gifts represent blessings of God showered on His people.
As with the liturgy prescribed here, it is important for us to be reminded of our blessings that are showered on us by our Almighty God and that these blessings are not just for ourselves but also for others that we can assist.
This short letter is firstly intended as a personal letter, carried by the messenger Demetrius, and appeared to have limited usage in seeking Gaius’s hospitality that was apparently refused by Diotrephes to some Christian missionaries sent to his city.
This letter provides us with a sketch of the early Christian churches in action and their expected assistance to passing church workers or missionaries.
So can I leave you with this two-part conundrum;
What do these two passages say to us about how we respond to calls to support God’s work and the work of the Church, the “strangers, fatherless and widows” and our fellow missionaries?
Does this passing-forward of our blessings to others, extend to a wider group of those who need support in our lives today?
Here too is a short hymn (1:27mins) concerning the blessing we receive through Jesus:
Whatever you own circumstances, may your 2017 under God,
be a blessing and an encouragement to you.