"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, November 10, 2014

What can I give?

  Our church emphasis these past few weeks have been on another of those scary words to all Christians, no matter what denomination or affiliation….Stewardship. Having grown up in the church, I’ve heard annual sermon series and seen brochures so that the word is not new to me, nor have I been greatly affected when the Pledge and Commitment cards have been passed out each year. It was always an easy thing to figure up 10% of my income for my tithe and would try my best to stay faithful in giving. I know all the stewardship verses and principles by heart and believe them, however, after so many years, they had come to be almost rote. Almost mindless. Until this year.

  I’ve been in a small group this past month studying about giving back to God and our worship services have been along the same topics. Basically, the same words I’ve always heard, but for some reason this year, it became extremely personal. What am I giving to God? As I wrote a few weeks ago, I’ve been going to church since before I was born and have rarely missed. Even as a child on vacation with my family, we would go to church on Sunday, bring their bulletin back so I could get “credit” in my Sunday School class at home. I give to His church in a financial way, even though as a retired educator, it isn’t a huge amount. I give of my talents…namely music and writing. But, there’s more than that. How much of my “other” time do I give.

  I have always had a heart for missions, both home and overseas. I’ve worked in the inner-city of Atlanta to help feed and clothe those in need; to provide recreational opportunities for children and youth; painted and help build shelter and storage spaces for schools and day-care centers for children in need; shared music and hugs at children’s hospitals; spoken and led worship in prisons for both men and women and traveled all over the country on trips doing Bible schools and construction projects. I’ve served as a Minister of Recreation and Youth in local churches. My problem is that the majority of those are in the past. I don’t do them anymore. Oh, I have used the “I’m too old” card to get out of things, but I have realized recently that God did not give me a pink slip. He did not give me a retirement slip from His Work here, but maybe I’ve given myself one. And, I am feeling quite guilty.

  There’s a song we always sing at Christmas that means much to me.

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
But, what can I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart.”

There may be limitations I now have because of age, but God still has plenty for me to do. Even if it isn’t walking along ropes strung in the trees like I have in times past, I still have a responsibility to do what I can. Give what I can. To be a good STEWARD of with what God has blessed me. More than just writing a check. More than singing the songs. More than showing up at church once or twice a week. I need to give what I have that will do God’s Work in the lives of others. As the old gospel song says, “Little is much when God is in it.”

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


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