Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
THE CRM CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL.. I enjoy getting CRM's Advent Devotions in my email inbox each day. Loved this particular devotion that helps me better understand wealth as a matter of the heart and not of the material.
*CRM stands for Church Resource Ministries (www.crmleaders.org)
Awaiting Our Promised Hope
Day 1: Generosity
Day 1: Generosity
A hermit had reached the outskirts of the village and settled down under a tree for the night when a villager came running up to him and said, "The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!"
"What stone?" asked the hermit.
"Last night an angel appeared to me in a dream," said the villager, "and told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village at dusk I should find a hermit who would give me a precious stone that would make me rich forever."
The hermit rummaged in his bag and pulled out a stone. "He probably meant this one," he said, as he handed the stone over to the villager. "I found it on a forest path some days ago. You can certainly have it."
The man gazed at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world, for it was as large as a person's fist.
He took the diamond and walked away. All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep. Next day at the crack of dawn he woke the hermit and said, "Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily."
Over the last couple of years I have often found myself wondering, “What does it mean to be wealthy?” I have found much guidance in this beautiful parable, which seems to say that wealth is that which makes it possible for us to give. Clearly this is not a very common understanding of wealth in our world. These days our worth is almost solely defined in terms of our “stuff”—what we have managed to accumulate in life.
The great irony of our times is that while we might be rich in things, we are often in abject poverty when it comes to things that have spiritual significance. Not only are we in poverty, but our society seems to admire and celebrate this poverty! It is a poverty of generosity, a poverty of concern for the common good, a poverty of compassion for those in the shadows of our society.
Jesus is clear that we should not “store up for [ourselves] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal,” but rather “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19). This teaching is both dignity for the poor, who don’t need money to be rich in God’s eyes, and hope for the rich, who don’t need to bow to society’s obsession with accumulation.
The good news is that you and I don’t need to bow to this obsession. We are free to store up treasure in heaven! We are free to be generous, to be committed to the common good, and to have compassion for the “least of these.” Above all, we are free to pray the dangerous but liberating prayer for God to give us the wealth that makes it possible to “give the diamond away so easily.”
- To what degree do you think of wealth as that which makes it possible for you to give away?
- What feelings are evoked when you consider praying, “Give me the wealth that makes it possible to give this diamond away”? Share these feelings with the Lord and ask for his truth.