Old Lessons, New Perspective
When I was younger I had the privilege of being shepherded by a Pastor who on Sunday morning had a way of leaving you inspired to better. Every January (or I recall it that way) he would preach the same message and ask "How much could we give away if we really tried, and yet still have what we need?" I looked forward to these messages with anticipation each new year. My interest in, and deep love for the principle of stewardship I think was birthed in those sermons.
As the first Sunday of January arrives, I am still thinking about those sermons and that question: How much could we, could I, give away? Much older, and perhaps a few steps further in my walk with Jesus, I hear this question now as so much more than a curious thought or seasonal reminder that all I have is not my own. Rather, I hear a heartfelt plea. A challenge to consider the answer with complete sincerity and seriousness. To allow for a moment my whole self to feel the weight of understanding that there is and has always been only one answer....
How much can I give away and still have all I need? The answer is everything.
How this thought has not crossed my mind before when it seems to clear and plain to me in this moment leaves me baffled, sad and a little embarrassed.
Perhaps the blunt truth I am currently reading in "The Cost of Discipleship" by Bonhoeffer and hearing his personal story of self-sacrifice is so fresh in my mind that it all seems clearer somehow? Or perhaps God, in His love and grace awakened me and allowed understanding I could not see before.
This year as I sit and look around at all that I have, my appreciation is no longer about all He has provided for me (though there is gratitude overflowing in my heart for these things). Rather, I am overcome with emotion at the awakening that in the consideration and possibility of giving up EVERYTHING, I would in fact have more in that moment than everything currently in my grasp combined. He, Jesus, is not simply the thing that matters most...He is the only thing that matters.
So, a new year has come with beautiful, familiar old lessons and new perspectives on them and I am thankful.