I was at a very wealthy church for a meeting and noticed a rug amongst a pile of items that clearly looked like they had been donated perhaps from a member of this wealthy congregation. I recognized that my own church could really use the perfectly sized rug to cover an area of our carpet that had been badly damaged and financially we are not able to afford to replace. I was told that the items were part of an annual yard sale. So I inquired about the possibility of purchasing the rug, explaining why the church needed it. A few days later I was told that the organizers for the yard sale needed to have the rug appraised because people give things of great value to this already wealthy church all the time. In my mind it seemed perhaps that this wealthy church didn’t need the rug or the money, otherwise, why was it in a pile of items to be sold (as opposed to being set aside)? From a stewardship perspective, was this not an opportunity to fulfill Christ’s commandment? The parables of the widows mite and the rich fool were never so clear to me as it was at that very moment! For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:13-21, 32-34). Lord help me to be a better steward of what already belongs to you, knowing that as I share my fullest tithe with the whole of God’s house, God’s grace and mercy will pour down an overflowing of blessings (Malachi 3:10).
Through Jesus Christ we have the power to lay down our life, we have the power to take it up again! The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ himself gives this power and by God’s grace we receive his power within in us. To use this power is not to abuse or tear down but to love and build up. Through Christ we become the good shepherd. To lay down this life is to sacrifice who we are in the physical world, understanding that our relationship to things that can not love us back is never more important than our relationship first to God and second to one another. There are times when we forget this but the true heart for seeks after God. Only God’s presence fills and fulfills the heart that knows God. To understand this is to have the power to take up that life which is eternally promised to us as we live according to Christ’s commandments.
1 John 3: 16-24 …and this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
2 Timothy 1:7 …for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Matthew 5:21-26 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go: first be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift.