Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 6:20-26.
Stewardship Focus ~ I Chronicles 29:5b-9.
Having declared his professional and personal resources in support of God’s vision, David asks the gathered people, “Who then will offer willingly, consecrating themselves today to the Lord” (v. 5b)? The people responded – the people gave! – each from their station in life, their responsibilities, and their resources. They gave of their time and of their talents. And then they rejoiced becausethey had given willingly. The Scripture says, “for with a single mind they had offered freely to the Lord” (v. 9).
My Sweet Mama has been known to say, “If you want to know who the Lord is in your life, then look in your checkbook register.” To which I have been known to say, “What is a checkbook register!?”
All snickering aside, the sentiment of her statement is wise and true. Our checkbook registers, our bank statements, our credit card bills – they all reveal the nature of our financial decisions. They tell the story of what we think is important and value. And as items recur or increase in frequency on these documents, so increases their value and importance in equivalent measure.
Pastor Andy Stanley observes that it is quite easy for people to talk about their financial decisions – where we spend, how we invest, why we save – but if we ask people – if we ask ourselves! – to articulate our beliefs about money, suddenly we seize up! We are speechless. We are uncomfortable. If we say anything we say politely that we do not discuss money. But I think that is front. I think that is a cop-out we tell ourselves. Because I believe many of us would rather politely say we do not discuss money than pointedly face our fears about money.
Am I spending appropriately? Am I investing wisely? Am I saving adequately?
And most especially, Am I honoring God with my giving?
I believe God’s people in King David’s day were able to give with a single mind because they were all sold on the vision that God had something more – something greater! – in mind for future generations and that God wanted them to be a part of it. This was not a vision that was funded on the backs (or pocketbooks) of a few but of an entire community. Our God is a God of abundance. Abundantly more can be accomplished with God than without God and abundantly more can be accomplished in the community of God’s people than on our own.
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” The journey that accompanies a life lived as a steward of God’s blessings is one that will take us far together. A crucial first step needed to begin this journey is to honestly face your relationship with – and possibly your fears about – money. Remember, you do not walk alone. An entire community of faith accompanies you on this journey. With grace may we enter this time of reflection trusting that God will lead us in how to respond.
Prayer: “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.”*
*“Take My Life and Let It Be,” The United Methodist Hymnal 399.