For many of us, giving goes against our grain. It is our nature to give as little as possible while attempting to get as much as possible back. We are a lot like the elderly rich man who was about to die. He called in his three advisors, – his doctor, his lawyer, and his minister. The miserly man said, “They say, ‘You can’t take it with you,’ but who knows if that is really true? I wonder if the experts might be wrong here. I’m giving each of you an envelope with $100,000 in it, and at my funeral, I want you to come up and slip your envelope with $100,000 in it into my pocket. Then, if it turns out I can use that money, I’ll be set in the next life.’” Each of his friends solemnly agreed. At the elderly man’s funeral, each of the three men was seen slipping an envelope into the pocket of the dead man’s suit. Afterwards, the three advisors sat down together. The doctor said, “Listen, I have to get something off my chest. Medical costs are skyrocketing. We have a broken CT scan machine down at the hospital, and we don’t have enough money to repair it. I admit that I took $40,000 out of the envelope for a very good cause, – to pay for the repair of our CT Scan machine.” The minister said, “Well, that makes it easier for me to admit something. We have a problem with homelessness. I took out $50,000 to go to our church’s homelessness project.” The attorney was very upset. He said, “I am very disappointed in both of you! I am absolutely shocked! This man was our friend. I put the entire $100,000 in that envelope in the form of a personal check.”
It is really hard to pry our hands loose from the money that we have, but that is exactly what we are called to do out of gratitude for the abundance of God’s goodness and grace to us. The Bible says, “But since you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you --see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (II Corinthians 8:7).
Please join me for worship via Zoom on Sunday morning at 10:00 A.M. as we talk about the nature of giving, generosity, and the difference of being a consumer and a steward.