Through forty years, I have meditated on Isak Dinesen’s three forms of true happiness. Much more than sports analogies await here, as you already see. Whenever we face a challenge—some kind of opponent—our imagination instantly delivers an assessment of our own resources. Can I meet it? Often, we fear not.
Many men I have met inside prison had more inner freedom than citizens outside who do not see the iron bars they live within. On those visits at Attica, I bore witness to more focused desire to grow than I have ever seen outside—not in churches, or seminars, or therapy groups.
It is not too simple to say of the whole human enterprise through thousands of years that at any moment, only one of two things is happening. Either we are cursing and struggling to be seen and loved. Or we are blessing and being peace.
In the days before the inauguration, I viewed a four-hour documentary on PBS. Called “The Divided States of America,” it examined how Americans grew far apart during the presidency of Barack Obama. Grief gripped me as I watched. Frame after frame revealed the unrestrained hatred of countless Americans for our former president. . . What was its source?
Think about this. If making predictions is what God’s Word is all about, then human freedom is fake. But the prophets weren’t making predictions. They were making promises. You can bet your life on the difference.
Our theme today is stewardship. We’ll ask what it is, where a spirit of generosity comes from, how we can grow in it, why it matters, and what’s at stake for a church of generous givers–or one that’s not.