Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38
A colleague and I have been doing lectures for clergy and laity on Christian stewardship. So many people seem to be of the opinion that stewardship is optional—we pick and choose those things we will care for. As if our bodies will run on automatic without proper food, exercise, rest, and relaxation… As if our spirits will continue to thrive without the Word, obedience, or prayer… As if our souls will be sustained without love, intellectual stimulation, or challenges…
Stewardship is holistic: our time includes choices and priorities; our talent encompasses sharing those unique gifts with which God has blessed us; and treasure is that which God has planted within these clay vessels as well as all the resources he’s entrusted to us. Actually, we are brimming over with riches that we can expend on God’s Kingdom and at his direction.
Over dinner, some friends told me how their pastor had graphically illustrated this point last week. Typically, their church doesn’t pass an offering plate—people entering the sanctuary place their offerings in a box set aside for their tithes and offerings. The pastor announced he would do something different. He would preach on giving, and they would take an offering.
After this unusual occurrence, the ushers passed buckets—the pastor asked people to give only the cash in their pockets—and then brought the buckets back to the front whereupon the pastor told the congregation that the buckets would be passed again. But this time, anyone who had a need was to take out what he needed—that was what everyone wanted him/her to do. At that, the congregation began to applaud, and the buckets were passed. Right and left, hands began to reach out and find that there was plenty for all.
This week, the pastor announced the result of this ministry: Stories were pouring in of desperate folks being touched and helped. After all the needs were met, there was still $68,000 left over. He asked everyone to stay tuned to see what God would do with the leftovers.
Does that remind you of a story about loaves and fishes?
Father, when we trust you and allow you to be Lord over all you’ve given us, there is always enough—and more. Thank you. AMEN.