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Food for Thought

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. A dangerous enterprise, I know. But these parables of   Jesus really have gotten me scratching my head and asking lots of questions about what  it means and looks like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I hope they’ve been doing the same for you. This past Sunday’s parable from Luke 16:1-13, often called the “Unjust Steward,” is really puzzling. Am I to follow his example in being clever and cunning? What value do I place on money and possessions as opposed to people and relationships? Am I being faithful enough with what I have for God to place enough faith in me to  experience that which is true and right and good? Am I seeking the things of God or    the things of this world? All questions from Sunday’s sermon that are still rumbling around in my brain. Just wait until we talk about the rich man and Lazarus this Sunday!

Another thing bouncing around in my mind from this past Sunday is Chip Higgins’ ministry moment about stewardship and giving. He gave the textbook definition of money (something about stored value and means of exchange) and then gave an alternate definition based on the wisdom of a successful businessman. Money is good for two things: giving yourself options and helping other people. The more I think about that definition, the more it rings true with me. I certainly use money to give myself and my family more options. This happens in big ways – like investing in my education to provide a career path (not to mention answering a call to ministry!) and finding a place to live that gives us access to work, school and more – and in small ways – like a variety of clothes to wear, food to eat, tv shows to watch, etc.

We use our money to help people, too. We give to the church, to the March of Dimes, to Raise the Roof, to friends who are in need and to much more. The part that scares me, though, is that if I were left to my own devices, I would probably choose to give myself more options most of the time rather than helping others. I think that’s part of why we are called to be in a faith community; because it trains and encourages us to give. I think that’s part of why the Bible teaches us about tithing (giving 10% or the first fruits); because it pushes us to give some rather than keep it all for ourselves.

This Sunday, we are having a Town Hall Meeting in the Fellowship Hall starting at 9:45. We’ll talk openly about our church’s finances, our budget for next year, our remaining debt on the new sanctuary and our dreams of what we could do to help others if we were free from that debt. If any of that sparks your interest, I hope you’ll join us. Together, let’s use the money we have to give our church more options in its calling and ministry and to help others in this journey called life. Hope to see you Sunday!