My parents were probably no different from your parents. They worked hard and knew what sacrifice meant because they lived it. My dad, a career military man, never made tons of money. Mom did not work when we were little. I never thought about how hard things were. As a child, you only notice the obvious. In the third grade, I did notice that my mom only had one thin gray suit, one dress and some slacks in her closet. That was all she wore year to year. To stretch money mom would buy a gallon of milk and use powdered milk to double the amount. Once it was cold, it was palatable. Her cooking was delicious, but now I know the things she cooked so cleverly were inexpensive meats and fish. No one was allowed to be picky. But it was so good.
Years later, I studied photos of mom as a young single woman. She was smartly attired in handsome suits, her hair and nails in the latest coiffure. She was lovely and smiling. But she left that all behind to raise four children on military pay. They knew about sacrifice. The truth is, any parent who truly loves their children will sacrifice everything for them.
Now let me ask you to privately measure how much you love your church and God. Do you ever sacrificially put the church ahead of your own wants? Aldersgate needs you to remember it and give to it, to think about what it means in your life, and help it be strong enough financially to touch other lives. That may mean making a trip to Starbucks only once a week and instead giving an extra $5 or $10 to the church. Putting aside what you would spend to go to a Clemson or Carolina game or maybe a greens fee. We seem to fall into the habits of neglectful parents. We indulge ourselves and our church becomes an afterthought. Dig down and give sacrificially. We all are blessed by sacrificial giving. How can we not make a sacrifice when God made the ultimate sacrifice, his Son, for each of us?
This week, I will be at Lake Junaluska taking two courses under Dr. James Fleming, a world-renowned antiquities topographer who specializes in Biblical studies. While I am away, Rev. Stephen Gaither has been kind enough to be on call for us. Please call India Hook UMC if you have a serious emergency or call me on my cell phone. See you Sunday.