Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stewardship and Radical Generosity

In the past 24 hours -

I took our daughter to get a watch.  $14.99, $24.99 and $44.99 were the typical price points.  Not only did we not find a watch that she liked - but more importantly, for the specific need we were after, I just didn't feel right about spending "that much money" on a watch.

The next day, I took her to Goodwill with the specific purpose of finding a watch that was more reasonably priced.  We found a watch for $2.99.  It was brand new, had never been worn.  We had to pull a plastic tab to initiate it and it began working immediately.  In fact, with our 10% Goodwill discount - we paid $2.70 or $2.93 with tax!

I've been praying and seeking discernment on many things recently.

Prayer and discerning what God might ask of us is "squishy" to me.  By that, I mean to note that I'm not the type of person who "knows" that "God told me" something specifically.  I rarely see "visions" or hear "voices" or dream thoughtful "dreams."  In fact, as a pragmatic person - even while I read about prophets and prophetic activity and ecstatic experiences in the Bible - I simply can not say I am the type of person who "knows" that I "know" that God has "told me" to do something.  And, when I do wonder about it, I always wonder if I'm wondering the wrong things about what God might be "saying" to me.  [It's much easier for me to discern God's purpose in recorded Scripture.]

I say this because, in the same 24 hours that I insured we saved perhaps $40 on a watch for our daughter, I woke from sleeping in an uncharacteristic way, with a dollar amount in my head that I felt God had given me in a dream for a specific person and for a specific purpose.  I contacted the person and inquired of their specific need for this specific item.  The person shared their dollar amount need for the specific issue, and it was the same dollar amount from my prayer.  It was much more than $14.99, $24,99 or $44.99 that I had just "saved" and an amount I could not have randomly "guessed."  After consulting with the person, I then shared with my wife.  My gracious spouse affirmed that we should give away to this other person what I had dreamed about and what we felt God had asked of us in these moments.

I write this publicly here as a note on what I believe about the stewardship of our lives and the stewardship of our resource - and as a note of my hope to be faithful in life.

In the same 24 hour period that we were careful to not spend too much money on a watch for our daughter and got her what she needed at a thrift store, we felt an urgency to make a contribution of radical generosity from our families budget to someone who, by comparison to our daughter, we know only in ways of general friendship.

For us, both acts - a cheaper item for our daughter and a large gift to another - are ways by which we model the stewardship of our lives to our children.

I believe God calls all of us to be careful stewards of that which we do have and possess.  I believe we are to be frugal and careful to not be self-serving beyond our needs.  I think this is true for each of us.  And, when we steward resources, we need to be prepared to act with obedience when we feel God leads us to graciously give to others.  I believe all Christians should be prepared to  share resources with others in sacrificial ways, as a demonstration of God's radical generosity already extended into our lives.

My daily prayer is that God will help me - and our family - to be people who are faithful and honest, kind and true, gracious and generous, people who reflect and embody the life of God's Kingdom.

Trying to figure that out - each and every day.


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