Need to Change their Own Ways

She was 86 years old and struggling with arthritis when she retired from her lifetime career as a washerwoman.   Her family forced her out of school when she was in the sixth grade because they desperately needed the little money she could earn.  She never finished school. But, that was okay because her life was her family, her work, and her God. Osceola McCarty often worked into the wee hours of the morning finishing her ironing, and without complaint she walked to do her errands.  Whenever she was paid, she’d  tuck just a little bit away into her savings.  As she grew older her friends encouraged her to plan for the future and how she would take care of herself.  When she set to planning she said that she wanted to leave some money for her family and her church, and to a local university.  Soon a trust agreement was signed.  To the astonishment of her friends and people far and wide, this simple African-American washerwoman with a sixth grade education managed to save over $280,000 and was giving $150,000 to the university.  “Some people make a lot of noise about what’s wrong with the world, and they are usually blaming somebody else.  I think people who don’t like the way things are need to look at themselves first.  They need to get right with God and change their own ways,”  said Osceola.

Osceola challenged people around her to think about what they could do to help others through their hand work, planning, and generosity.  It was this sort of generosity from the followers of Jesus that changed the world.  Why?  While everyone else seemed to be thinking only of how they could make themselves richer, the early Christians, though often among the poor, were giving sacrificially to assist others.  Some even laid down their lives out of love for Jesus.  Their radical generosity demonstrated the truth of the gospel.  Indeed, through their love and service people were able to see Jesus.

Over the years we have haven’t talked a whole lot about money in our church.   We have seekers and inquirers with us each week and it is only as we come into life with Jesus that we reorder our lives based on his truth.  Each year I would typically preach one message on giving in the Fall as we are renewing our commitment as a church to follow Jesus in all things.  But, the more I study and pray and seek the face of God I can see how deeply our hearts have become entwined with our money, and how much our growth in grace brings about a change in our whole way of thinking.

I believe the change that first happens is that we see all that we have as coming from God and belonging to Him.  My pride has always encouraged me to believe that what I have has come from my own hard work.  The truth is nothing I have accomplished has been done on my own.  God has equipped me for what I do.  Others have assisted me along the way.  I never carry the load alone.  Furthermore, God does not surrender His ownership when He gives to us.  He places it into our hands to be used for His purposes.  This is what stewardship is all about.   It is investing God’s resources in God’s way for His glory.  Indeed, the way we use our resources demonstrates what is first in our lives and what we believe about God.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by sandy carson on April 11, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Amen.
    P.S. Please do not publicly post any of my comments. They are for you only. I just want you to know I read the post and appreciate your thoughts. xoxox

    Reply

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