May I speak with you about a too-frequently unpopular topic? The topic is “money” – and what we choose to do with it.
I know, it’s early January, and you are reading this for a New Year’s jump start. “New Beginnings,” “Fresh Starts,” “Looking Toward Tomorrow,” “Building A Better And Brighter Future,” something like that. You don’t expect to read about money. With all due apologies, it’s an important topic. Apparently Jesus thought so. He spent as much time talking about what we do with our resources as He did about any other theme at all. So, if it were important to Jesus, then I need to take notice.
During the Christmas season, hardly a day passed that I didn’t receive an appeal from some agency to donate here or contribute there. They were all great agencies doing beautiful work. I would have loved to write huge checks to each, but not many of us have that capacity. However, I did try to send something at least, even if it seemed a modest amount, to numerous charitable organizations. I knew that every dollar counts. And sometimes just a few dollars can spell the difference between someone’s being hungry and cold or being fed and warm.
The same is true with church. The simple fact is, through the church God can do a lot with even a little. We witness all the time how the story of the Loaves and Fish comes true again and again within the family of Faith. William Barclay said it is possible that when that little boy in the gospel story brought forth his five loaves and two fish, it created a wave of generosity in the crowd. Perhaps people had been hanging onto their own little bags of food, saving it for themselves and hiding it from others who might be hungry. But when they saw the child’s generosity, suggested Barclay, perhaps one by one they reached into their tunics or shoulder sacks and pulled out the bread or fish or cheese they had been hiding. “If that little child can share, then so can I.” And Jesus then fed the multitudes. With the “little” that everyone put forward, He was able to do a lot. Barclay may or may not have been correct in what he imagined, but he was correct in saying: “If it did happen that way, it was just as great a miracle,” for transcending the needs of self for the needs of others is always miraculous.
So, what’s the point? The point is that in a new year, I would like to think that one of our new commitments (resolutions) is to offer what we have to God, especially by making financial commitments to the church. If you do what you can and I do what I can and all of us offer up whatever is possible for us, Christ can still take the aggregate and work miracles. Maybe you fear that what you have to give is too small to make a difference, but that is untrue. Your gift plus mine plus those of countless others can still feed the multitudes, even as Jesus did by the lake all those years ago.
If you can give generously and liberally, please do so. However, if you are struggling financially, then whatever you can provide will be deeply appreciated. Through your gifts, large and small, the miracle will occur. God will take all our gifts, even those we feared were only “a little,” and will do a lot with them both in the church and in the world.