During an intergenerational event held between services on Sunday, January 19, 2020, each participant was surprised with an envelope containing a $100 bill. Included with the money were some simple instructions: to share God’s love with the world. In total, we gave away 150 such envelopes and then collected the stories of what became of many of those $100 bills. The stories can be read here.
We called this experience “Love Let Go” as it was inspired by a book of the same name written to chronicle the experience of another church that had received a large and unexpected financial windfall. Our own “Generosity Committee” had been formed to offer guidance to the congregation on determining the best response to the significant estate gift received from Rose Diestler. This team’s hope for the $100 bill surprise would be an opportunity to experience radical generosity and a chance to exercise some of the generosity “muscles” that often languish for so many of us.
As I shared in my sermon yesterday, “When God’s people experience scarcity, it’s not because there isn’t enough, it’s because we don’t want to believe there is.” This is why generosity and faithfulness go hand in hand. How often is it that we respond to the needs of the world around us too cautiously? How often are our conservative approaches masking a fear that there isn’t or won’t be enough?
But God’s story, time and again, describes a very different approach. God’s faithfulness to the world is one of abundance. Think of the stories of manna in the wilderness or the feeding of the 5000. God’s generosity is plainly evident in creation and, even though we’ve worked hard to keep this abundance for ourselves, the full value of God’s abundance is only realized when given away.
The discernment process of how to best use Rose Diestler’s estate gift was understandably interrupted by the pandemic. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be once again considering how God might be calling us to use this unexpected abundance for the sake of the church and the world. How will the witness of the ever flowing fountain of God’s love continue to inspire us, reassuring our fears, and give us the courage to let love go?
May God’s peace come to you this day. – Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
Gracious God, your love pours out in a never-ending stream. As it fills up within us, give us the courage to send it back out again so that we might be the church you need us to be, for the sake of your world. Amen.