When I was in college I had a weekend ministry preaching at a small country church. One of my favorite parts of that ministry was regular visits to one of the members who was in the nursing home. She was very sweet and encouraging and we both enjoyed the visits.
One afternoon while visiting she reached for her checkbook and told me that it had been a while since she had made a contribution to the church. She filled out the check with instructions for me to drop it off with the treasurer and to remind him that her money was NOT to go to support foreign missions. “After all,” she said, “the Bible says ‘Charity begins at home!'”
I wish I could say that was my only story like that. Unfortunately I’ve heard it over and over again. I’m not sure what bothers me more, the gross neglect of what Scripture truly says or the pious excuse to do nothing about helping your fellow man.
I managed to finish writing this sermon on Monday afternoon. I had all week to mull it over and let it ferment. The final product is pretty much the same as I had written on Monday with a few changes. I added the story of being approached by the person in need on Friday and I sharpened the challenge at the end of the message.
The sermon went longer than I had intended, just shy of 30 minutes. I really want to try to keep these summer sermons at about 20-22 minutes. I’ll work on that for the next one in two weeks. I’m taking next Sunday off!