Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time, talent and treasure

Today’s Reading: Acts 4:32 (NIV)

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

Good morning!

In an effort to cut costs in the purchase of office supplies, a group of administrative assistants pitched a proposal to its management team, which has literally saved its company thousands of dollars in the last year. Every department had been given an annual operating budget which included a specific dollar amount for essentials, such as paper, writing tools, printer supplies, etc. Each department tried to be respectful of another department’s resources, keeping their supplies marked and separated. Everyone needed supplies in order to do their job. Why not pool the resources and distribute and use what had been purchased company wide? On the surface, this seemed to be an impossibility, especially with so many different site facilities and teams. Is it possible to centralize office supplies and provide them to various personnel as needed? Departments began to gather their goods, organizing paper, notebooks, pens and other essentials on open shelves. Emails began floating around the company asking if someone might have a ream of canary colored paper, or a box of hanging file folders. Instead of coveting department supplies, groups began to share their accumulated wealth with others. When this idea became a reality, it made an indelible impression in my mind as I witnessed a mindset occur. People were willingly and happily sharing their resources. The sincere desire to help a coworker in need is what impressed me most of all.

A couple of weeks ago, our mission team organized a church wide garage sale for the benefit of our community. It was not intended to be a large fundraiser; rather, an attempt to pool our resources for the benefit others of our community. Faith families cleaned out their closets and basements, donating extra clothing, shoes, toys, games, furniture and appliances, and hauling their items to the church the week before the sale began. Coupons were distributed to families in the community who were receiving assistance at local food pantries and shelters. They were able to come to Faith church the evening before the sale and whatever their family needed at no charge. Within two hours, almost everything that had been donated was gone. It was humbling to see the great need. As we closed our doors that evening, many of us went home and looked for more things to donate for the Saturday sale. Who ever thought that willingly and joyfully giving something away of personal value could mean so much for the giver? I wondered if this is what it feels like to be part of the early Christian church that Luke describes so eloquently in the book of Acts.

What kinds of things do you have stashed away that someone else could use? Would you be willing to donate an hour each week to a college student who is far from home, and needs an adult to listen and care? Could you bake a double portion of your famous Sunday casserole, and share it with a neighbor, just because? How much time does it take to send a get well card, make a telephone call, or say a prayer for someone you do not know half way around the world? Are you willing to share your time, talent and treasure?

It is an interesting assumption, when we stop to think about what we have to give. None of us knows how much time we have left here on earth. Every day is a new opportunity to pool and share our gifts with others. When we begin to realize that the time we spend here is not really our own, sharing it becomes a lot of fun!

I double-dog dare you to ask yourself this question: What will I joyfully give away today? I encourage you, in the name of Jesus, to give from the abundance of your life, because your life and the time you spend here is not really yours – it is a precious gift from the Lord.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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