A lesson that is on the indelible memory comes from Doug Meeks, my professor in seeking a doctoral degree in ministry. We talked about essences in life. He, so much better word crafting made it clear: to have is a strong theme; to give and love is a viable value and a better purpose. We don’t need a bigger barn.
Put in similar fashion, it provides this: there is no luggage rack on a hearse. The Gospel doesn’t ask us to gain in possessions. No. Rather, it urges us to know that who we are is enhanced when we do what we can, give where we can. And. Perhaps most vital of all: we grow when we give.
I remember…not much these days but this will carry me in full. I was so blessed that Senator Wayne Morse was a member of our First Congregational Church in Eugene. We became friends and any Sunday the Senator was in Eugene he was in worship with his wife.
We met in a quirky situation, although with God nothing is quirky. One of the children in our latch-key afternoon program at St. Pauls in Chicago was injured in our gymnasium. I took her and her sister home to their Lincoln Park area home. The girl was crying…almost immeasurable volume!! Her mother said, “Honey? Please try not to cry; the Senator is asleep.”
Turns out that Senator Morse was their close friend and Linda was the chair of the Cook County Democratic party. She invited me back for dinner, first time to meet the Senator. How special.
Back to the point about giving our fullest. The Senator had such integrity and he said, “In living truth is more important than popularity.” Wow. How rare. More, how necessary.
This morning Tom Ehrich struck again on this theme…to give fully…to give what we can…simply: to give. His quote conveys such a powerful truth. Might you now read it…and then talk to your mirror: how can I give with the purpose effort and not acclaim?
“I think most of life is about giving what we have. Who is shining a klieg light when a weary father hands a baby to a weary mother for the 2:00am feeding? Did anyone notice the late night I drove to help my oldest son when he got into trouble? Or the year of tough duty my wife gave as “granny nanny” for our first-born grandchild? We are to give without counting the cost or expecting reward.
At our best, we give what we have to give. Rarely if ever does our effort save the day. Our effort, if noticed at all, makes things a little better. Faith believes that small efforts given to God are worthy.
In this age of myth and fantasy, many want to be the “hero” or “strongman,” or near to him or her. But that’s mostly delusional. The Christian narrative doesn’t deny heroism, but it says basically that God is in all things, and when we give our small portion, God turns it into something more. God is the center. Our aim isn’t applause; it’s trusting God to make the small seed into something glorious.”