The Things I Possess

Julia Dahlke on Feb 20, 2019

In a voice full of disdain, my child said “Get off of my bed!”

“Wait... Your bed?” I said. I recalled searching for the right bed for my child, reading reviews and finally driving to the Cities to pay for it and pick it up.

I’ve been thinking about 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 which says:

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

Throughout Scripture we are reminded that all we have has come from the hand of our Lord. In 1 Chronicles 29 King David recognizes that Solomon will be the one to build God’s temple. David is gathering gifts for the building process. He himself is setting an example by giving generously and his leaders are following. After Scripture records the various items that are being donated for use in the temple, David is praising God stating that wealth and honor come from God and then he says this: “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” Said another way: “we are only giving back to you, Lord, what you first gave to us.” So, just as it is foolish for my son to think that it is his bed alone, so too it is silly for me to think that I am the owner of the things I possess.

This passage also suggests that there is a relationship between generosity and righteousness. Our interest and ability to be generous is intimately linked to our righteousness. I was recently listening to a sermon by Matt Chandler. He said that there are few things that can be used to measure our spirituality. It’s really challenging to assess someone’s faith in God. However, he believes that our ability to be generous – as seen in our pocketbook and how we spend our time -- is an accurate reflection of our relationship with God since we have been told: where our heart is, there our treasure will be also. The more we trust God, the more likely we will see that all we possess is His anyway. Simply put – if we truly believe that we got it from God, we are more likely to freely offer it to God.

Throughout our capital initiative Kevin has reminded us again and again that he sees this as an opportunity for our spiritual growth. As he’s talked about our pledges, he’s encouraged us to pray and ask God what we should give. He’s challenged us to embrace this time as a time to grow in generosity and faith, a time to watch God do His work in and through us. The fact that most churches see about 23% of their congregation contribute to their Capital Campaign while our numbers are closer to 80% is a strong indicator of the health of this body. As a staff we are more concerned about the number of people who are engaged in the process and less concerned about the number written on pledge cards. We would love to see 100% of those who attend Westbrook to be united in the effort. We desire that each of us jump into this initiative and press into God learning more and more to trust God and be generous.

After my son informed me I needed to get off of his bed, we had a little chat. It didn’t take my son long to come and give me a hug and say he was sorry. He realized that rather than claiming the bed as his own, he needed to have a heart of gratitude toward his parents who bought it for him. May we all be able to learn as quickly.

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