Grace, Generosity, and Gratitude. These were the focus of our season of Stewardship this past fall at Kernersville Moravian Church, and we are grateful to Chi-Chi Messick of the Moravian Ministries Foundation who led us through this process. Each Sunday School class was given an opportunity to experience a special education session with Chi-Chi, and this was a time of learning and sharing insight into Grace, Generosity, and Gratitude at work in our lives and within our congregation. People of all ages were encouraged to participate in this special time of prayer, education, and planning.
A reading of Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” But that chapter also advises us, “When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the Lord.”
We must take care not to forget the Lord, and God’s abiding grace toward us. Grace has been defined as the steadfast love and loyalty, the mercy and the kindness, the goodness, that emanates from God to us in an unconditional way. It is the undeserved favor that God shows us and which we can never fully return to God, because God is sufficient. God’s grace comes to us in countless forms … as God’s provision, as the gift of faith, as the ability to recognize God’s hand in our lives, even in every breath we take, and through the gift of life itself.
Our response to God’s abiding grace toward us is, first of all, gratitude. We respond with thanksgiving, taking care not to forget the Lord in our lives, in our work, and in our worship. We also respond by loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and might. And, additionally, we respond with generosity. Giving is the visible sign of love, and as an old adage tells us, we may give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.
We continue to serve, grow, and prosper when we recognize God’s grace, respond with gratitude, and give generously of our time, talent, treasure, and our very selves. Dr. Carol Johnston notes that this is the arithmetic of grace: that Grace plus Gratitude equals Generosity. May we keep the three G’s of Grace, Generosity, and Gratitude in mind as we plan together, pray, and seek God’s will for our lives and for our congregations.
Rev. John G. Rights