2 Corinthians 8:1-15 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this,
A final word on stewardship this week in the form of a story.
Once, a man said, "If I had some extra money, I'd give it to God, but I have just enough to support myself and my family." And the same man said, "If I had some extra time, I'd give it to God, but every minute is taken up with my job, my family, my clubs, and what have you--every single minute." And the same man said, "If I had a talent I'd give it to God, but I have no lovely voice; I have no special skill; I've never been able to lead a group; I can't think cleverly or quickly, the way I would like to."
And God was touched, and although it was unlike him, God gave that man money, time, and a glorious talent. And then He waited, and waited, and waited.....And then after a while, He shrugged His shoulders, and He took all those things right back from the man, the money, the time and the glorious talent. After a while, the man sighed and said, "If I only had some of that money back, I'd give it to God. If I only had some of that time, I'd give it to God. If I could only rediscover that glorious talent, I'd give it to God."
And God said, "Oh, shut up."
And the man told some of his friends, "You know, I'm not so sure that I believe in God anymore."
Lord, you know how often we have resented our work;
Forgive us, Lord, for our ingratitude.
And you know how often we have neglected our abilities;
Forgive us, Lord, for our poor stewardship.
And you know how often we've been careless in our studies;
Forgive us, Lord, for not using our minds.
And you know how often we've wasted time on the job;
Forgive us, Lord, for our heart's insincerity.
And you've seen how shoddy some of our work has been;
Forgive us, Lord, for our carelessness.
And you've heard how often we've said we can't wait to get out;
Forgive us, Lord, for not working with all our heart.
And you know we've often worked only to please others;
Forgive us for failing to remember it is you we are serving.
Hear our prayer,
and in the mercy of Jesus Christ,
cleanse us for his name's sake. Amen.