Pastor Rick Neale of Rock Spring Presbyterian Church in Piedmont Heights, Atlanta, offers us a reflection and study on our extravagant God. Do you look around and see only what you lack? Read on and try looking through another, more adundance-aware lens.
Fall is the season of harvest, a time to celebrate the fruits of our labor and the abundance of God’s grace.
In that spirit, this fall we will center our thoughts on the theme of Extravagant Generosity. What does that mean?
It starts with remembering how generous God is. Our very lives are a gift from God. This beautiful world in which we live is a gift from God. Our individual abilities, the things we dream about, the hopes we nurture, the people we cherish are gifts from God. This church of which we are a part is a gift from God.
God’s extravagant generosity is the foundation from which we can expand our own giving to entirely new levels. How does that happen…? Let’s start at the beginning.
Genesis, Chapter One — The Grand Pageant of Creation! Rank upon rank of uncountable and endlessly varied created things: vast oceans and massive continents; sun, moon, and legions of stars; grain filling the valleys; fruit trees covering the mountains; minnows and salmon and sharks and whales; lions and tigers, elephants and antelopes, dogs and cats; grasshoppers and worms; bees and sparrows and eagles — and people: “red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in God’s sight!”
We have an amazing encounter with a God who does more than simply create stuff. God creates with wild abandon! God is the Giver of Life, a gift that has no boundaries whatsoever. Everything we see is a gift from God. Everything we have is a gift from God. Everything we are is a gift from God.
Our loving, extravagant God, who says, “Everything that is mine is yours. Everything I have I give to you. Everything.”
Read Psalm 65
What does the Psalm say about its writer? What verses(s) describe an experience you’ve had? What does it say that might be hard to believe? What gives you a new feeling of hope? How does it speak to your church/family?
Now it is time to ask, is there anything God needs from us? Look into this by reading
Jeremiah 31:27-34. This is written to the Jewish people in Babylon. What promises is God making to them? What does it say that might be hard to believe? What do you think God is hoping for? How does is speak to your church/family?
Reflect on the following:
Can you love without giving? We are blessed with friends and family whom we love dearly. We express our love for them in many ways. We give of ourselves by investing in the lives of those we love.
Pray about these things every day.
Together in Christ,
Rick Neale, Pastor
Pastor Rick Neale
Rick is serving as our contract-call pastor. He is a Teaching Elder in the PCUSA, and he has pastored churches in upstate New York and Miami, FL. After coming to Atlanta, he served as Chaplain for Oncology at Northside Hospital. His previous pastorate was at Church of the New Covenant in Doraville, GA.