It's Giving Sunday:  A Bible Study
for Asbury's Worship (November 14)

by Rev. Lee Johnson

November 14, 2021


Are you ready for “Giving Tuesday?” This year the “holiday” falls on November 30. I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but it’s not a bad one. Four days after the shopping madness called “Black Friday,” the day following Thanksgiving, comes “Giving Tuesday.” On that day, our spending is to bear in mind the needs of others. There are many social service helping agencies out there who could benefit from our generous giving on November 30.  Maybe you will find a reason to consider giving something extra to one of them, or two of them!  But, before we get to “Giving Tuesday,” even “Black Friday,” this Sunday, November 14 is “Giving Sunday” at Asbury. In the spirit of our gratefulness, we will consider how it is we give to Asbury.  For this kind of giving, we usually consider how we give monetarily to support the mission and ministry of Asbury.  Of course, in our United Methodist tradition, there are many giving paths. For all United Methodists are asked to support the church through not just their monetary gifts, but also through their prayers, presence, service, and witness. When you pray, consider it a gift. Same for when you show up and are counted present. That’s a gift, too. Giving of yourself in service is a sure way of giving. And what about witness, telling others of your faith?  Witness is a gift. Giving Sunday in the United Methodist tradition is an invitation to ponder the depth of your giving, and why it is you give. Have you ever considered how your prayers, presence, service, and witness might be seen as “gifts?”  Of those four, which one challenges you the most?  Which one do you experience as less challenging?  Where will your area of gift growth be this coming year?


When you give, no matter where, when, or what, why do you give? In other words, what prompts your giving? What’s your reason? Generally, giving is related to need. Someone, or something, whether it be a person, or an institution, is in need. And so, we give. Some of you are old enough to remember a popular song from the late 1960’s: “What the world needs now.”  The answer in the 60’s was “love, sweet love.” Our country and world were in turmoil. An unpopular war, not that any are popular, was being fought in Vietnam. Assassinations marked the decade: John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. Cities were being torn apart. What the world needed was love, sweet love. Love was in need. Now look around - it appears the world is still in need of love. The strife of this year, the panic of COVID and politics, has left love in short supply. Our country's dialogue is too often not marked by love, let alone kindness. What the world still needs is “love, sweet love.” Is love a reason to give? Of your prayers? Of your presence? Of your gifts? Of your service? Of your witness? We often talk about “gratefulness” as a motivating factor for giving in the church. What about love?


Take a moment and read 1 John 4.16-21. It is full of reminders about love: “God is love; there is no fear in love; we love because God first loved us.” And so, we give? Out of love? I may not like everything about The United Methodist Church. Yet, I love the church and the good it does for so many people. And I love the way Asbury proclaims God’s love: “all means all.” I am grateful for my many years at Asbury. But this year, instead of gratefulness, I think I will give out of love. Because that’s what the church and world need most, love. Can you recall a time when you gave out of love? What was happening? Is there a difference between giving out of gratefulness and out of love?  What’s more powerful?   


1 John 4.16-21


Asbury's Weekend Worship:
Beginning Sunday, November 14 at 11 a.m. for Live Stream or 5 p.m. for recording.


"What the world needs now is love, sweet love."


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