By Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor
As promised, I want to reflect further on the admonition from St. Paul that we become cheerful givers. As I shared in my sermon on March 16th, a more accurate translation of that commonly known verse is not to use the adjective “cheerful,” but “hilarious.” As is typical of Greek words, they have several meanings in one word. Hilarious has three meanings in one…
- Our physical appearance is altered …. Like Jesus being transfigured on Mount Tabor.
- Our heart rate drastically increases
- People look at us rather strangely and wonder why we are acting so abnormally.
St. Paul says, “God loves a hilarious giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
At 8:15 I shared the following story….did not have time at 9:30 and 11.
Chapel Hill’s mother church, Bethel United Methodist Church, sent a group of 15 to a renewal conference in Denver in 1993. The conference is typical in that there were general sessions with keynote speakers and a large variety of workshops. At one particular session, youth from across the national and world led the service. A young man from Mississippi distinctively led with authority and passion. He said, when introducing the offering, we are going to practice being hilarious givers. He put a basket in the center of the hotel ballroom and invited people to give hilariously. He invited us to sing, dance, and do whatever it takes to show that you are giving hilariously! Honestly, I have never seen an offering like that evening. People responded and were giving generously.
At the end of the service, this very wise youth invited about 8 other youth to come forward and gave them vials of oil for prayer stations. I will never forget what he said. With unusual maturity for a person his age he said more often than not people who do not give hilariously are people who are burdened and stressed. He invited the two thousand people in attendance to avail them to the power of prayer. It was an amazing sight and I learned a lesson I have never forgotten.
Have a blessed week and remember…God loves a hilarious giver! I’ve been accused of many things; unfortunately I have yet to be accused of being hilarious in my generosity!