On Jan. 13, during service, Becky Eanet provided the following message…
When I thought about my witness for today, what came to mind was how God has blessed me when I give him the best of what He has given to me, trusting in His provision for all my needs. As an example, when I was laid off and unemployed, I continued to tithe on unemployment and God provided a new, good job in a very short period of time. But I am now convicted, because, if I am honest about my own stewardship, I must confess to having drifted away from responsible giving in recent months. Spending beyond my means, caught up in overspending on material possessions, and seeking security and contentment by surrounding myself with those possessions, I’ve become grudging in my giving to God and decreased the amount and frequency of my giving.
God tells us in Scripture what He expects us to give back to Him, both financially and otherwise. He promises that if we trust in Him and obey Him in tithing and in non-monetary stewardship of the resources He has given us, He will supply all our needs (as the expression goes, not our “greeds” but our needs). I have been praying and thinking about my giving for 2013, and I am committing here and now to true tithing, giving 10% of my income — making a deliberate decision to trust Him with my financial resources, knowing He will provide for me when I submit to Him in this.
The idea of God blessing us when we give back to Him what he has gifted us with applies to non-monetary gifts as well. We are to be good stewards of the abilities and talents He has given us, using them for His glory, giving of our time and service to others. When we use our gifts in furthering His work, in spreading the message of the gospel, not only does this bless others around us, but we ourselves are blessed. For me, much of my service is in the musical realm. (And by the way, if the existence of music isn’t evidence of God’s hand in creation, I don’t know what is!)
One of the first experiences I had of God’s blessing in my music ministry was during my participation in an interfaith Bible study where the leaders of the study sent out a call for pianists to play at the start of each weekly meeting and accompany the group as they sang some hymns. As soon as I heard about the need, I knew God was calling me to serve in this way, but I initially hesitated because I had not played piano much at all for many years and was uncertain about my ability to do the job. Long story short, I did decide to take on this role and soon found myself blessed in a number of unexpected ways. God provided! He got me back into practicing regularly as I prepared songs to play each week, helped me become familiar with many hymns I would not have known otherwise, allowed me to hear the joyful voices of over 300 women raised in songs of praise each week, and gave me a new way to express my love for Him through music.
Now, at RFUMC, I worship God through the ministry of our church choir. As I’ve often said, it’s my favorite way to worship, raising my personal praise and tribute to Him by making the most beautiful noise I can make — my best effort — for His glory, not for my own. I can set aside my ego – and the nervousness I otherwise feel in front of a group — and sing freely to and about Him. I am drawn closer to Him and my faith is strengthened in contemplating the meaning of the words of the songs. And I reminded again and again of His sovereignty in creating music for our pleasure and for His glory.