Posts Tagged poverty
As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” [NRSV]
Everyone who came to the temple for worship, put something in the offering.
Maybe someone does want to talk about Money at church because we have question or misinformation about “Offering” is in our practice of worship and faith. What is the offering about?
- What the Offering is NOT:
- It is not about FAIRNESS
- It is not admission for the SHOW
- It is not about TAXATION
- It is not EARNING salvation or favor
- Offering IS about
- a THANK YOU note
- a Sign of TRUST of God,
- How we GIVE it.
- How we USE it.
- a RESPONSE to God’s loving, blessing, saving and claiming us in GRACE
- an ACT of CONFESSION or retribution – Zacheaus, the wee little man, made a big act of restoration.
- an Investment in the work of God’s business, kingdom, witness
- a PRACTICE of loving. [The widow is operating on love in her giving], the greatest is love.
- Offering was being watched, monitored, studies by Jesus and the Disciples
- It is important to learn about giving patterns and styles
- Strings or No Strings
- In times of plenty and times of lean
- Faith in Maturity not Quantity.
- The witness of the POOR widow. (A widow living on the generosity of temple)
- Poverty is closer to us every day. (If we set aside politics and look at the reality of what actually IS currently)
- Gross National Product($18.1T) Fascination Debt Clock and other fiscal measurements
- National Debt is increasing 4154,583 per minute. ($18.6T is meaningless)
- Our Product to Debt ratio is $1.03. That means if we spent everything we made we would be three cents short paying everything we owe.
- the BEGGING QUESTION: How much in debt do you have to be to be poor?
- Rather than figure how what the fair level of poverty. Poverty is not having a certain level of possessions, credit or money.
- Rather than find a fair level of persons to blame or label as the rich or the poor. Jesus’s FOCUS is on the GIFT.
- The GIFT THAT IS GREATEST is the one who was able to give the LOVE
- If you only have two half-pennies and you give them to God: What statement are you making?
- God has more to give than I have to give, I will give all I have.
- If you and I give out of our abundance, extra, or wealth: But not out of love, What statement are we making?
- God demands, we must obey
- God is jealous and bad stuff will happen if we don’t
- God will bless me if I give
- God will make me rich if I give it all to him.
- The women who gives to two coins does not
- does not become the most wealthy members
- does not stop living at the poverty level
- does not become the high priestess or head scribe or rabbi
- does not get rich off of God’s investment plan.
- The woman gives as an loving act of TRUST that God will provide what she needs.
- What does my offering say to me and what does it say to God.
- Does my gift say: I trust you? I love you? I need you most of all? I can’t make it with out you?
- Does my gift say: I have this to spare? I can get by with this? After I manage all the choices of wealth or poverty, then I will trust, give, love.
Homework: Last week we talked about Jesus answer to the greatest commandment, the FIRST is to Love God and Love your neighbor,
We show this love in how we give to God. This what the offering is about.
Teach a child about why you give. Your child/grand-child or a friends, or even a stranger. : Explain to a child (3-63)
- I give because I love God.
- I give because God knows what I need.
- I give because I am faithful will all that I have.
- I give because I trust God with my life AND livelihood AND future..
For those who like math?
Do I spend more resource of time/money/energy on God than being a team fan?
Pull out the check book, (exclude housing, utilities, food, car, insurance) How much do I spend in the other categories compared to God?
For those who don’t like homework. (Give because you know its good in your heart and watch for the Kingdom of God to show up where you give)
For those who are legalistic, “Give until it changes your heart.” – Rich Young Ruler.
12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
It is impossible to visit a community like the ones we visited this week in Tegucigalpa and not re-evaluate our understanding of poverty and wealth. Every person who comes to the end of the month and there is not enough to pay the bills and they go inside their home, turn on the television, make a few calls and eat some processed food stuffs in the microwave and think about how terrible their situation is should go vacation in Honduras.
For all those who would say, we have mission enough to do right here at home, the question to answer is who reaches out to those who have no wealthy neighbors. Who will bring peace and hope to city where corruption, violence and want rule?
The parable of Jesus found in Luke 12 draws our focus on what things are ours.
How many toys can a person own and enjoy them all?
How much stuff in our homes, cars, sheds, garages, basements, attics and storage building will bring us life, joy and happiness.
We have finally begun to go through boxes we moved into our garage over two years ago and found things while special and meaningful at one time, only took up valuable space, for two years. We made large load for the youth yard sale, a large load for the school yard sale, a large load for the timely garbage truck and still have more to sort and share.
But I drift from the point and focus of the parable just a bit.
Which is easy to do. That is, to fool ourselves into seeing what we think we need to be happy.
Norman was a young man our team met this week who enjoyed hard work with rocks with some rock music. He lived on the work site most of the week with two other workers and had fun even when he was hungry and tired.
Brian worked to transport and translate even when his heart was broken, having lost his mother, and nearly his young son to gang violence just two months ago, finds hope in caring for his son and teaching him to defend himself even as a two year old son.
What brings you joy when you don’t have anything to work on or play with? If you removed 90 percent of our things and balances of investments where would be find our happiness?
Back to the focus…
The focus gets off track when we put the investment of our heart in
What We Need
What We want
What I think
What I manage
What I planned
What I prepared
What about me?
When all along, our joy comes from asking and answering what God wants for me…
Our inheritance is what God wants to give us
And there is enough for us all.