August 8, 2004

Luke 12:32-40

[32] Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

[33] "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. [34] It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

[35] "Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! [36] Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. [37] Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He'll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. [38] It doesn't matter what time of the night he arrives; they're awake--and so blessed!

[39] "You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn't have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. [40] So don't you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don't expect him, the Son of Man will show up."

[The Message]

- - - - - - -

1. Why be generous? Why give to the poor? Because you are Jesus' dearest friend. Your friend won't let you miss out on anything important. There is an abundance upon which you can draw in order to be generous. You won't miss that which you give because the giving is your joy.

2. Giving is the whole point. In my United Methodist tradition this is crucial to our identity. Brother John Wesley was as clear as could be that our task vis a vis the stuff of this world leads us to earn as much as we can and to be as frugal as we can be with that which we earn in order that we can give as much as we can. It is this very giving that powers our journey toward wholeness. The more we give the more we find all that we are. He warned that when his followers forgot this basic they forget everything. Giving is the last thing to go. Even in death we are giving - as e.e. cummings noted, we, like uncle Sol, go to start a worm farm.

3. This is a most unexpected master plan. Who would have thought that the last could be first or a giver is a receiver? Just when you don't expect it, life is found in the most surprising of places - diligent gathering in order to be diligent in dispersing.

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