Pastor’s Perspective

 Balance

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What does it mean to be the body of Christ? Last week in bible class we looked at Acts 4, and how living in the body meant not being an idiot (focused in on one’s self) but rather meant to hold all things in common. It meant to have fellowship with one another, and to see in each other the gifts of God lived out.

This week we look at that great chapter in Romans, chapter twelve. What I would like for all of you to think about here is to start considering the doctrine of vocation or calling as it relates to the body of Christ. 

Each of us has a calling or vocation as the baptized. We are royal priests, with a high and holy obligation to love our neighbor and to intercede for them before God. That also means loving them by speaking the Gospel to them, and by providing for their needs as best as we are able. 

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The trouble is our favorite word today, balance. How do I balance the needs of the many, the needs of the few, and the needs of the one? In many respects, we could look at our priorities like this from the Scriptures: Church, Family, Neighbors, Self. Or maybe, Family, Church, Neighbors, Self. Either way, in the Bible our own personal needs come last when it comes to stewardship.

Does that mean we don’t take care of ourselves, and provide for our own needs? Of course we do. But spiritual growth means, at least in part, the recognition that we don’t need as much as we think for ourselves, and that the needs of others is probably greater than we realize. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about giving for your family or your church or your next door neighbor. Their needs are greater than we realize, and our own needs are probably less than we think they are.

That doesn’t make it easier. It means taking a hard look at why God has given us what he has. It means repenting of how we have squandered God’s gifts. But most importantly, it means recognizing that God is the one who sacrifices and gives all good gifts for us, His children. As Dennis says in his article in this issue, you can’t out-give God. Thank God for that!

As we continue to learn what it means to live as the Body of Christ, I pray you will look to Christ to give you what you need in all good things. 

-Pastor Peperkorn

Living with Money 

Anyone who knows me knows that I have never considered money management to be a great strength. It has been a slow move toward adulthood when it comes to understanding budgets, spending controls, and managing income. But one thing has been slowly moving me toward working harder at this. It’s very simple. I want to give more to church. While that isn’t the only reason, it is certainly one that Kathryn and I talk about a lot. 

Our church is a big part of who we are as a family, and we believe that God has been doing great things here at Holy Cross for a long time. I want and pray that Holy Cross will be a part of this community for a long time to come. But in order for that to happen, it means thinking ahead now so that our children will be able to make good on the work that we  have done.

 What does that look like? It means looking at how has God blessed us in terms of income. It means looking at our spending priorities, and recognizing that God uses people like us to accomplish His purposes here on earth. The money, the time, and the energy doesn’t come from somewhere else. God gives it to us. But how do we manage it, and how do we do so in a way that keeps Jesus Christ and Him crucified front and center in our lives? In many ways, that is what this campaign is all about. How do we as Christians talk about and understand money as a good gift from God?

Honestly, it’s not easy. Jesus talks about money more than just about anything. Maybe even more than faith itself. Why? Because anything that happens costs something to someone. Absolution is free. But who is going to preach? Where do we gather to hear His Word and receive His Sacraments? How do we reach those who are in need of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins? Something that is free for one person means it costs someone else. We live as best as we can in Jesus’ image (Philippians 1:9-11), and that may mean sacrificing what is important for the moment in order to do something bigger and greater than ourselves.

How has God blessed and worked in your life, so that you are now free to sacrifice and to give for others? Where has God blessed you so that you see a need that you can fill? Does that mean money or time or energy and attention? Does it mean something else entirely?

I hope you will journey with us together as we thinking about what all this means by Living as the Body of Christ.


Pastor Todd Peperkorn