Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                       December 1, 2008
She Gave Everything She Had
My Reflections
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I was having a conversation with a friend in need the other day when I asked, "Tell me how much you need to make ends meet." Then, nearly before I could finish my question, he said, "I find this all very interesting. On the one hand, those of my friends who have the ability to give don't ask how they can help. On the other hand, those of my friends who haven't the ability to give do ask."
Although I'd like to say this was a surprise to me, some revelation, it wasn't. Even within the body of Christ, the strong tendency is to preserve self. If the world is to take notice of the church, then something's got to be different enough, compelling enough, to turn heads.
So, now that the organic church has just about eliminated the need for costly overhead, I issue this challenge: give like you've never given before, even if it's your last two pennies.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: Giving everything you've got
She Gave Everything She Had 
Excerpt from Luke's Gospel
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on" (Lk 21:1-4).
My Reflections
I have all kinds of mixed emotions when it comes to money. There's part of me that recognizes the American way: work hard, save, enjoy the benefits of your labors. In fact, if you're good at proof-texting, there are Bible verses justifying such existences: "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth" (Prov 10:4).
But to take texts like Proverbs 10:4 out of the context of the entire Bible misses the mark doesn't it? As you're undoubtedly aware, to live in the way of Jesus requires sacrifice, selflessness.
One Thing LogoEven as I write, I'm asking myself, "Traver, so which is it? Are you more like the Pharisee who skimps by with religious duty or are you more like the widow who gave all she had?" As of today I'm probably at the 50/50 mark. Although I certainly give more than I am able (with 10% as a meager starting point, no legalism involved), I also consume more than I should...thereby limiting my ability to give.
There's a little chapter in Gene Edwards's book The Organic Church vs The "New Testament" Church that haunts me to this day. So important is his point, the following is the entire chapter. "Your first hurdle is simple. If you want to restore the organic church, you have to leave institutional Christianity. If you cannot do that, then please be content to pastor a church in a denomination, one with a good retirement plan" (2007:43). Talk about not mincing words.
MiteMy thoughts this week, of course, are to challenge us to give. Let us forego our own safety not only to bless others, but to put ourselves at risk. And by doing so we'll put ourselves in a place where we'll need God.
Please, give generously. Perhaps you could find a need in your house church and meet it. Maybe someone needs a tank of gas. Maybe someone needs groceries. And if you're able, think bigger; some of us have more resources. Feeling global? Why not sponsor a child through World Vision?
Remember, the world is watching and asking the question, Are these Christians anything but a bunch of consumers seeking to look good in front of a God that probably doesn't exist? Although that's simply untrue, sometimes I wonder if we who claim to be disciples of Jesus truly give a watching world reason to believe otherwise.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table