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).
What is this that God has done? Genesis 42:18-28 We were wrong and we know that we were wrong. Yet is it even possible that God would continue to provide in spite of our past shortcomings and in spite of the possibility that we may fall short again? There is an old saying; “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, meaning when receiving a gift be grateful for what it is; don’t try to assess it’s value, which often leads to judging the giver and thereby judging oneself. It’s kind of like winning a two dollar lottery. Certainly not much of a winning, but it’s two dollars today, that you didn’t have yesterday! Joseph returns the money his brothers had given him for the grain. Claiming to be honest men they are tasked with going home and returning with their youngest brother. Additionally, one of them must remain imprisoned in Egypt until their denial of being spies proves true. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to praise God in the good and the bad. Of course, much like Joseph’s brothers there are other actions we must take, that will challenge our character. However, in spite of our sometimes lukewarm understanding of God’s grace, know that the love in God’s greater plan will cause blessings to fall on us even when we least deserve it. God’s graciousness and mercy towards us has less to do with what we have done or left undone and much more to do with love for his creation and his desire for us to live in that love. Let us continually set our own path in this journey that we may ever be grateful, recognizing even the “smallest” of gifts.