Skip to main content

Seeds of Hope

This week's narrative lectionary reading is from Mark 12:41-44.  Jesus and the disciples are sitting across from the offering box at the temple.  Jesus notices that many of the rich gave large contributions, but it was not their large gifts that impressed him, it was the meager 2 coins offered by a poor widow. 

It is easy to read into this scripture and think that God wants us to give everything away.  Just a few weeks ago we focused on the story of Jesus telling the young rich man to give everything away.  Then he wanted us to give coin to Caesar and still give God our tithes and offerings.  Now we see that he is only happy with the woman who gave her last two pennies away.  Indeed, God does want our everything, but not that kind of everything. 

When people, who themselves are in need, give, it inspires something in us.  In North Carolina I worked for a children's home in the mountains.  It was over 100 years old and functioned mostly off of the interest from a large endowment that had been stored up through good stewardship.  There were hundreds of stories of people giving huge sums of money every year to the ministry, but one story stood out.  When a minister decided the area needed a home for children he walked the mountains knocking on doors asking for help from everyone who lived in the area.  When a young girl heard about the need of other children she gave the minister the first donation of 13 pennies.  It was all she owned.  Those pennies still sit on the mantle of the fireplace in that great home.  Her giving out of her need has inspired many more great gifts over the years.  It was a seed that grew into something magical.   

In our church, we recently focused on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and two fish.  We learn from the gospel of John that the food was a boy's lunch that he was willing to share.  He gave from his need, and while it may have been a physical miracle,  it could have been a miracle of inspiration.  As the crowd saw this boy give from his need, they were inspired to share as well.  In a world where there is enough for everyone, sharing is a kingdom value that could change the world. 

With the fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic people are hording toilet paper, soap, and food. It will take people giving through their need to inspire people to release their strangle hold on the resources that they have hoarded in fear.  It is only when we begin sharing what seems like it is not enough that we will realize there is an abundance.  After Jesus fed the 5000 he had the disciples collect the leftovers.  There were 12 baskets full.   Have you checked on your neighbors lately?


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Deeper Discipleship

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is Mark 10:17-22.  A wealthy man approaches Jesus with great respect and asks what he must do to have the abundant life Jesus has been preaching about.  Jesus reminds him of the commandments, but the man claims to have followed them since childhood.  Jesus looks him in the eye and something changes.  Mark tells us that Jesus loved him in this moment, so he invites him to sell all of his belongings, and follow him.  He invites him to become a disciple.  All of the other disciples had to do the same thing in order to follow Jesus.  They dropped their nets, left their family, and followed Jesus.  In this case, the man could not do it.  The scriptures tell us that he had a lot of wealth, a lot he was unwilling to let go of.  He left that encounter disappointed, because the cost of discipleship was too great.  I notice that Jesus starts with the law as the answer to the question, almost giving a basic book answer.  It is only after