WELCOME TO CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH – “This is the day the Lord has made”. We join the Psalmist in acknowledging the goodness of our Lord our God, as we not only see His goodness in the beauty of His creation, but even more than that, we know of His goodness in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for joining us as we receive His forgiveness and peace during this hour of worship.

AS WE GATHER: God takes us as we are; He forgives us, makes us His own, and uses us to care, to witness, and to bless. Our Lord called Paul from persecution to mission, and He called Peter from denial to proclamation, and He calls each of us to be His disciples and follow him.

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We Follow Him in Generosity

“I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:15). We cannot give our lives for the salvation of the world, of course.  Praise God, that job’s already been accomplished by Jesus.  As we have hearts full of thanksgiving for what Jesus has already given us, we can follow His example of being generous givers.  The generosity of Jesus is not merely an example.  Our Lord also commands us to act according to our gifts when St. Paul tells us: “the one who contributes, let him give in generosity” (Rom. 12:8).
We bring our offerings to Him, and then strive to heed His command and follow this pattern that He has established for us.  Jesus did not give us His leftovers,  He gave His very best. We should not give leftovers, either, but the first and best of what He has given us. Jesus did not give to us as an afterthought - He gave according to the plan of salvation God established from the foundation of the world.  
When it comes to our own offerings, we should make a thoughtful plan to give, always in proportion to the way He has blessed us. As did the Macedonian Christians, who gave according to their ability, and even beyond their ability (2 Cor. 8:3), we should honor the Lord by giving a generous portion of the income that God provides us.
There is no compulsion involved in our works of love, and our offerings to the Lord.  We do not give grudgingly, but willingly and cheerfully, each “as has been decided in the heart” (2 Cor. 9:7).  There is no New Testament ceremonial law involved here.  Rather, we are free to give as generously as our Savior has given for us; it is a privilege for us to give - not a Law or compulsion.
In the same way, our Lord teaches us to give generously out of our love for Him, and for our neighbor. Jesus shows us that genuine love is always love done “in deed” (1 John 3:18). It is love that sees our neighbor in need, and gives generously to help him. It is love that hears the Word of the Lord, and does what it says. If we truly love, we give generously.
We follow Jesus in generosity when we support His Gospel ministry and other works of mercy. The people of Israel gave generously to construct and support the operation of the Tabernacle, for that was the place where the Lord received the Old Testament sacrifices, through which He bestowed the forgiveness of sins on His people.  And, they gave abundantly, so abundantly they had to be told to stop giving - that’s right - they were told to stop! (Ex. 36:5–6). 
We should bring generous offerings to support the Lord’s work. We support our congregation in the preaching of His Word, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which bestow His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation, and we take care of those who are poor and needy.   Our Savior calls us to follow His example in generous giving. Let us then, with thankful hearts, rededicate ourselves to following Him in generosity.

“and the leaders said to Moses, ‘the people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.’ Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘no man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more.” Exodus 36:5-6