When I was 17 I saved up money so I could go to work with an outreach ministry called Prodigal Project in northern California connecting with hippies. I made myself a budget and worked coaching gymnastics to reach it. When I had enough money for the train ride and 300$ extra for spending money, I excitedly bought a one way ticket! I was super psyched! My birthday was a few days before I left so some friends threw me a surprise party! As I was getting ready to go, a friend named Andy walked up to me and slipped me a wad of rolled up money and said Jesus told him to give it to me for my trip. I thanked him- a bit surprised as I hadn’t asked anyone for money. When I unrolled it, I counted 112$. Aghast, never having received money like that, I went back to him and told him it was too much. He put it back in my hand and said Jesus would show me how to use it. I kept that wad, rolled up in my drawer. Every time I had an opportunity to give in a big way I smiled, knowing I had the means, if God wanted me to use it. Every time I felt like I was supposed to use my own money and kept watching for that one special thing that this money was meant for. I got live simply and thus had the ability to do lots of fun things in sharing my 300$, but at the end of my 3 months there I was a bit frustrated wondering who this 112$ was for and sat down to pray. Then I realized. That 112$ had changed me. It gave me the eyes to look for how God may be allowing me to give. I laughed, and when I got home I gave it back to Andy, telling him that his money had done exactly what it was supposed to do- changed my heart and given me the eyes to look for where I have the capacity to give, because I do have a reserve in heaven!
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
(who served the people of El Salvador and was assassinated in 1980 while he was saying mass in San Salvador.)
I was walking with Molly to the memorial. Her dad and brother had died.
She had spent the night and I am currently in the night time rhythm of reading some cool quotes about Jesus that inspire me, so we had read a Fredrick Dougless quote that read “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”
Now it was probably 1 am by the time we had calmed our giggling and crying and settled down to bed so we were pretty tired and emotionally fried as we walked to the memorial. We were quiet as we got closer.
Memorials in the park are held by getting really drunk and writing a note on something to remember them by.
“Jesus,” I began to pray “please keep everyone safe today, and keep alcohol away from this memorial.” Molly laughed. I glared at her- “what- I can pray for a miracle.” I responded. “Maybe we should start praying with our hands” she responded.