How does the radiance of the sun relate to our giving?
I think the most important question you’ll ever answer in this life is, “Who is Jesus to you?” If you asked a thousand people this question you’d probably get a thousand different answers which would likely include “Jesus was just a good teacher” or "Jesus is my redeemer" or maybe even "Jesus is my homeboy."
But the Bible, which we consider to be the infallible Word of God which defines truth and reality, is of course not silent on this all important question.
- In the book of John, Jesus himself said, “I and the Father are one… Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 10:30, 14:6-9)
- In Colossians 1 it says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation… in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:15, 19)
- In Hebrews 1:3 it says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power."
As Alaskans, and especially now, we have a very deep love and a resolute longing for the sun and the warm temperatures that it brings. It’s been a tough winter so far! No snow, it’s wet and dirty everywhere, some of us are so white we look dead… It’s not the enchanted winter we’d all hoped for and we are ready for that summer time sun. We are ready to be filled with all the sun we can get, basking in it’s warmth which seems to reach into the deepest part of our soul.
We are literally enduring the misery of winter because we know the sun is coming. Although, to be more specific, it’s actually not the flaming ball of hydrogen that will be drawing near to us this summer. We’d be incinerated. It is more specifically the radiance of the sun which we will love and enjoy all summer long. It is the radiance of the sun which will bring us life and will cause us to say that we love the sun.
Here's the point: Jesus Christ, therefore, is not something different than God, he is not even a representation of God, but is God himself and the radiance of his glory. He is what our hearts desire and is the object of our love for God. It is through him and him alone that we’re able to enjoy the fullness of the greatness and beauty of God. And He is the reason that we can see the beauty of God's creation.
So, how does this relate to giving? Good question. In the same way, generosity for a Christian is not something separate from who we are. It’s not a box we have to check or something we use to represent our faith. Instead, generosity is the radiance of a heart that’s been transformed by the gospel. It is an overflow of all that we have received in Christ. It is part of the image of an invisible heart that burns with love for Jesus Christ.
And I’d say, given that we blew our record out of the water last month, bringing in just over $50k, we’ve got a lot of people at HOTC with hearts that are being transformed by the gospel. Praise God for his immeasurable grace toward us as a church!