September and Labor Day Weekend mark the end of summer both officially and unofficially, regardless of what the weather says. Hopefully as we see nature change before our eyes it can be a reminder to all of us to give thanks for our joys and blessings. We serve an amazing God who give us more than we deserve. He gives us time, loved ones, a community of faith, and chances to do the things we enjoy, just to name a few. Do we pause to give back? Do we give of our time, talents, and treasures?
According to Nonprofit Source, only 5% of professing Christians tithe (giving 10% of our income/treasure to the Lord’s work). Christians who regularly attend church often don’t give anything to ministry. Thirty-seven percent give $0. How many times do we hear our leaders ask for volunteers and assume someone else will take care of it? Do you have talents that you are not using for God’s call on your life? Chances are, we are all a bit guilty of being less generous with our God-given resources.
August 21 was our son, Jonathan’s, 14th birthday. At least it was his heavenly birthday. Jonathan was born into our arms and passed into the Lord’s more immediate presence all in 62 minutes. When I think back to 2009 and the pain of that experience, I’m reminded of a part of that story that God used to teach me a lesson. My wife, Kelli, and I experienced so many blessings through that pain, many of which are only recognized in hindsight. One of those blessings was a nurse named Martha. Martha was there when Jonathan came into the world and when he left it. She ministered to us in ways we could not have anticipated we even needed on that day.
Fast forward a little over a year later, and we were back in the delivery room for a happier day. Our daughter, Kaitlyn, came into the world a bit early. Thankfully, Kaitlyn was healthy, but because she showed up so early, she was sent to the neonatal ICU almost immediately. Before they whisked her away, we had an unexpected visitor. Martha found out we were there and came by to check on us.
Given our experience the year before, it was important to Kelli and I that one of us remained with our baby. I followed the nurses out of the room, along with Martha, to accompany Kaitlyn for her first bath and NICU admittance. When we reached the hospital hall door, one of the other nurses sternly told me I could come no further. Panic and a bit of anger flooded my soul, but Martha quickly rescued me. Martha told the nurse, “He’s with me. He can come.” I didn’t realize that Martha was not only a great nurse, but she was also the nurse in charge. She was at the top of the org chart. On her word, I was given permission and passage. I smiled at the stern nurse and passed right through.
We serve a God that gives us passage on His Word and through the sacrifice of Jesus. By His grace, we are His children. It is a love that we can’t be good enough to earn or bad enough to lose. That’s a love that is hard to understand, but how can we not give back to that? We are called as followers of the Lamb to give of our time, talents, and treasure as a way to recognize what God has so generously given to us. As you enjoy the end of summer and the changing season that is coming, remember what God has done for you, and relish in His unchanging love for you.