It’s hard to believe that I am now halfway through my internship! It has been quite a ride and very busy! I have learned so much and am still learning much more! I am thankful to have the opportunity to share with you some of what I have learned during my time in St. Vincent.
One of the things I have learned about Harvest St. Vincent is their intentionality about giving. It shows! I especially am impressed by their intentional focus on giving because it would be easy for them to simply become receivers! At Harvest St. Vincent, we have the blessing of receiving mission teams. Unfortunately, this blessing could become a hindrance to ministry if an attitude of learned helplessness sets it. Thankfully, the staff and leadership at Harvest St. Vincent are so intentional about giving that this attitude is unheard of!
This attitude of intentional giving is being seen right now. By the time you read this blog, I will be in the middle of a mission trip within a mission trip! Harvest St. Vincent is teaming up with Harvest Davenport, Iowa and doing a mission trip to a nearby island. This is the first exposure to missions for many of the Harvest St. Vincent participants. But Harvest St. Vincent had enough of sitting back letting teams come to them, so they decided to do a missions trip of their own! This, for a church our St. Vincent’s size and age is astounding! St. Vincent is being intentional about creating a culture of giving, and it is showing in how many people desire to give back by participating in this trip!
It is amazing to see the excitement on the leadership team about intentionally creating a culture of giving at Harvest. The associate pastor over student ministries longs to see the youth of Harvest St. Vincent giving back because so much has been given to them! (See the pictures of Adventure Week on the Harvest St. Vincent Facebook page to see how!) He one day dreams of Harvest St. Vincent student ministries going on their own mission trip to a foreign country much like mission teams have come to them. (I told him Harvest Barrie would be more than glad to receive them!) Seeing the excitement in the leaders about intentional giving makes me want to give intentionally as well!
What I find most amazing about a giving church like Harvest St. Vincent is that they receive so much. It would be so easy to simply become passive receivers. There are many who are willing to come down to St. Vincent for a short time to help me, and who have greater resources than we do! Yet, that is not the case with Harvest St. Vincent. They have learned that God blesses so that we in turn can bless others.
This lesson was brought home for me this past week when I had to teach it in Higher Ground. I was teaching the children about Solomon. In 1 Kings 3, Solomon had just become king of Israel. He had a heart for the Lord and offered many sacrifices. God then appeared to him in a dream and told Solomon he would give whatever he asked. Did Solomon ask for something for himself? No, rather Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could govern the nation well (I Kings 3:9). Solomon asked for a blessing he could use to bless others with. Solomon was intentional about giving.
During my time here in Harvest St. Vincent I have realized that God blesses me so that I might bless others. I have also learned that I am blessed in far more ways than I usually think. I often think blessing solely comes in the form of money. But I am learning that I have been blessed in many ways, and all those ways can be used to bless others if I am intentional about it! I have learned that I don’t have to have a big home to open it up to others and ministry; I just have to invite people over. I don’t have to be an amazing chef to be hospitable; I just have to put food on the table and clean my washroom. I don’t have to have a master’s degree in theology to help fulfill the great commission by making disciples; I can read the Bible with others one-on-one or study a devotional book with them. I don’t have to have an amazing singing or preaching voice to serve in church; I simply have to show up early to set up or stay late to tear down.
I have been learning here in St. Vincent about being intentional about giving. Giving away what God has given to us. And when we think about it, God has given us much by giving us his Son. The cool part about giving is that one receives even more blessing. Just as God blessed Solomon with not only wisdom but riches and honour as well (verse 13), God will bless us when we use his blessings to bless others.
2 Corinthians 9:6
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; he righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
I thank many of you for supporting me! What you have given me and blessed me with, I seek to bless others with. If you have any questions as to how this is happening, please don’t hesitate to ask me!