By Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 19, 2015
A few of you have asked for the prayer I shared last night. May it inspire, provoke, and give witness to our need for more generosity in spirit and in practice. Consider these words by Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians and the words of confession that follow by Sharon K. Feltion.
You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.
So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,
Nothing left over to the one with the most, Nothing lacking to the one with the least.
God, within our culture of abundance, we have more of everything than we really need. We rent buildings to store our excess. We believe that we need more and more of everything in order to be satisfied and happy. Forgive us for our selfishness, our gluttony of things, and our wastefulness. Forgive us for claiming to be your church in the world, but failing to share what we have with the world.
You have given us all that we need, and yet we desire more. Forgive us for failing to recognize that what we have is yours and is given to us to share with others. Instill in us the sense of community that the early church had, where members shared all that they had and distributed it to all who had need so that no one lacked for anything (Acts 4:32-34).
You are the God of generosity. You gave all of yourself through Christ Jesus so that we could have life. Forgive us for not following your example. Continue to call us to a life of generosity. Show us daily how we may meet the needs of others and be good stewards of all that you have given. Open our hearts and minds and hands so that we may give to all who have need.
We confess that such generosity is difficult for us because it runs counter to our culture of abundance. But it is your heart and your command that we love you with all that we have.
Transform us so that we love our neighbors and care for them even as we love and care for ourselves.
Transform us so that our first instinct is to share with others what has been so freely given to us.