(05.19.21 –Value -Matthew 5:1-11) Welcome Tara Verwiebe and Peter Kruschel
My friend, may I ask you a question? When you bless others with your generosity and thoughtfulness, are these gifts a reflection of God the giver and not you, the mere recipient of God's grace?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I'm M. Clifford Brunner.
Here's a story: When I ran for the state assembly a number of years ago, I met no one more interesting in the course of my primary campaigning than another fellow candidate. Let's just call him Tom. Despite the fact that he had a farm to run, Tom made it his purpose to attend every candidate's forum he could. One of the things that always impressed me about him was that he was covered with campaign buttons from his lapel down to his pockets. In fact Tom had even asked me for one of my campaign buttons to wear. I guess he just liked collecting them. I tried to keep a lower profile, however, feeling I would do better than Tom, comfortable in the logic that if folks didn’t know I was so political, I might fool them into thinking I might never become a politician.
When the primary election was over, I ended up finishing a poor eighth out of ten. What surprised me was how well Tom had done though. Although he didn't win the primary, he came in fifth place, strongly ahead of me. As I looked at the morning papers the next day and saw where he placed, I scratched my head. How did he do that? Weeks later I ran into Tom again at the local Piggly Wiggly. He was still wearing a few of his campaign buttons, despite the fact that he hadn't won the primary, and I couldn't help telling him how I had felt his strategy should have backfired. "Oh, I don't think it had anything to do with the campaign buttons." he said confidently. "Of course everyone knew I was a politician. They just knew that I was a farmer first. When I shake a hand I hold that grip for just a second or two longer. It's at this point that people just know that I'm no different than they are. I'm just a farmer with buttons and they're, for the most part, farmers without them."
"Just a farmer with buttons!" Despite the fact that he was a politician in form, he was nothing more than a humble farmer in heart. When you think about our ability to be generous, it's really the same thing. God doesn't expect us to sell all we have to the poor in order to make ourselves worthy of his gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. He doesn’t ask us to step out of character, to remove the things that identify us with who we are, like Tom's buttons. He asks only that we manage our money wisely. He has given each of us a loan of goods to manage. In that sense we are like Tom–just poor farmers who happen to possess gifts that could offend if not used wisely. As Tom was not tied to the buttons he wore but rather to the hands that he shook, so too should our hearts be tied to God's providence and not the things we possess. That way our gifts will reflect God the giver and not us the mere recipients of God's grace.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thankfully You don’t expect us to sell all we have to the poor in order to make ourselves worthy of your gift of eternal life in Christ. Otherwise, we would surely fail the test. We praise You that You haven’t asked us to step out of character, to remove the things that identify us with who we are, as a condition of our generosity. Nevertheless, You do expect us to manage our money wisely. Forgive us Lord when we don’t. Keep us tied to the character and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the things we possess, as we live to live value to others lives. That way our gifts will reflect You the giver and not us the mere recipients of Your grace. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<firstname.lastname@example.org> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.