January 26, 2023
Last Sunday we explored the spiritual practice of giving. When the Bible talks about what we have received in this life, it is always connected to a responsibility for us to use what we have been blessed with in order to bless others. Whenever I think about that, I always think of my dining room table.
When Jess and I bought our first home in Kansas City, we had no money. We ate Ramen for a month in order to scrape together the measly down payment for the house. What little furniture we had was all hand-me-down pieces from my parents. We had no table. We ate our meals sitting in our empty dining room on the floor.
I was working in my church office one day when in came a church member whom I’ll call Bill. Bill was a salesman who was a man of deep faith. I was a Student Pastor and he was part of my youth leadership team. He knew we had just bought a house and he was asking me about how things were going. I told him things were fine and I mentioned how we would be going to thrift stores soon to look for a table and chairs. Bill had a relative who worked at the local Goodwill and he said he could maybe call his relative and have her keep an eye out for something. Bill asked me to describe what size of table we needed. I told him and he said he would make the call.
A few days later, Bill called. He said that he found us a table. Later that afternoon, what got delivered to us was a brand-new table from a furniture store that was exactly what we were dreaming of for our family. When it arrived, Jess and I felt like we were the luckiest people in the world. That table has had thousands of meals eaten at it. The top of it is completely ruined by all of the markings our children have made. The table has been a meeting place for our family and it has strengthened the bonds between us. It has been a gift of grace in my life that I have a hard time putting into words.
When I called Bill to thank him for the table, he told me one thing. He said, “When my wife and I were starting out, a couple in our church bought us a couch because we could not afford any furniture. One day you and Jess are going to be in the stage of life that I am in. You are going to meet some newlywed couple buying their first home. I am buying you all this table with the expectation that one day you will buy that couple their first table. Promise me that.” I told him that we would.
Sisters and brothers, let’s practice generosity as a spiritual act of worship. I encourage you to prayerfully discern how you are called to give this year out of the abundance that God has given to you. I hope you will join us for our New Consecration Celebration Lunch this Sunday, January 29, as we remember the spiritual practice of giving alongside one another.