As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, I quickly begin to think about all the things I want to ask Santa to bring me. Then reality sets in. I just came from an In Mission Together conference. I sat with fellow pastors who are in the U.S. hoping someone will partner with them so they can keep doing the ministries (mostly with “the least of these”) in which they are engaged. I reflected on the fact that many of my pastor friends in East Europe never get to take their families out to eat at a nice restaurant because they don’t get a big salary and they often use more than their “tithes” to make sure that the people they serve have basic necessities.
Sometimes I wonder just how generous I really am. The American Church is kind of like Frodo in The Lord of The Rings. We have been given a possession with great power to hold onto. When Gandalf warns Frodo of the great power the Ring has on the one who possesses it, Frodo is skeptical. So, Gandalf challenges him to give it up. Frodo takes it from his pocket intending to throw it into the hot fire. As he struggles with the intention of throwing it away, he puts it back in his pocket.
I often wonder why we preachers (self included) when asked about Jesus telling the guy to take his stuff, sell it and give to the poor we hem and haw around saying stuff like, “Jesus doesn’t really ask people to do that today,” and other such reasoning. Mine is once it is out of my pocket and into Jesus’ hand I won’t be able to use that money to buy tickets to see LSU play in the national championship game. I am not as generous as my Eastern European friends.
As we look at “Sowing Seeds of Generosity” think of the possessions with great power that God has given us. Will we put them back in our pocket? I hope that the “Ring” doesn’t take possession of us, but when the time comes we can give it up. “Go sell all you have and give it to the poor.” Easier said than done.
Well Santa, I guess I really don’t want anything for Christmas this year, except maybe a bigger heart of generosity (and a national title for LSU). It is so hard not to think of my priorities!
Geaux Tigers, Barry
Published on Thursday, November 14, 2019 @ 3:06 PM EDT