Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. – Ephesians 6:7-9

I heard a little story about a man, Jim, who was leaving church after Christmas Eve service when the pastor greeted him and said, “Jim, it’s time you joined the Army of the Lord. We need to see you every Sunday.”  “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor,” Jim replied. “Then why do we only see you on Christmas and Easter?”  Jim looked to the right and to the left, and then leaned over to whisper, “I’m in the Secret Service.”

Yes, I love that image.  As important as Sunday worship is for the building up of the “army of saints,” we know that life-long transformation happens best in the gap.  The gap is the time between Sundays.  It’s in the gap that relationship challenges show up, work, and life challenges emerge.  It’s in the gap that smaller groups gather for the mutual building up of one another. It is in the gap that the Holy Spirit ministers to you daily.  It’s in the gap that God teaches us something different than when we are sitting in our rows on Sunday morning.

It’s why offerings, tithes, and gifts are an expression of that daily activity more than anything else.  Yes, your yearend giving is important here at Bethany.  We are praying to finish this weird and difficult year financially strong, but your rhythm of giving transcends simply keeping the lights on and the ministry running.  Your giving is a secret service to the Lord.

When you give in secret, God is honored. When you ask God to help you be generous, God knows how difficult it is to trust Him with resources.  When you dedicate your offering to God’s redemptive purpose, God knows just what level of sacrifice that you give and responds with an appropriate blessing.  What a privilege and what an honor that the God of the universe rewards our faithful giving!

May you continue to grow in your Secret Service to the Lord.  And blessings to you and your family this Christmas season!

Pastor Jon