Welcome to Wondering Wednesday. You are encouraged to use this as personal devotion and reflection. You are encouraged to hop on the church Facebook page or Instagram page and wonder with others.
Read…Spend some time with teaching of Jesus: Luke 17:5-10A little faith can go a long way when it is stewarded with disciplined practice. The disciples ask Jesus, “Increase our faith!” Jesus responds with two analogies that let them know they have more than enough faith if they will only put it into consistent practice. The problem seems to be that the disciples, like many of us in the 21st Century, have enough and abundance confused. First, Jesus speaks of the ability of faith “the size of a mustard seed” to uproot trees and toss them into the sea, indicating that enough is enough. The disciples would know a tiny mustard seed germinates quickly and spreads aggressively, and left to mature the mustard plant will grow into a bush-like plant producing more seed, and so on. It doesn’t take an abundance; it just takes enough. This also is true of stewardship, whether it is of one’s time, abilities, financial resources, or the blessings in the world around us. When we practice faithful stewardship of what we have and who we are, it germinates, grows, and multiplies within us, blessing others with the abundance of our lives in Christ. Continued cultivation of faithful stewardship in our lives, bit by bit grows into stewardship of all that we have and all that we are because we more deeply are able to realize the abundance in our lives is more than enough, generating joyful generosity and gratitude. Jesus’ story about the dutiful servant reminds his disciples, both of the 1st and 21st Centuries, that humility is at the root of faith and stewardship as a grateful response to blessings in one’s life. My wife and I found this to be true in our journey to tithing. Humility, coupled with disciplined faith that “All things come of thee, O Lord,” as we slowly made our way to giving 10% year by year, we began to understand that God has blessed us with abundance, even when we do what is expected of us (tithing) we found we have more than enough to live even more generously. It just took a little faith and humility to get us started.Wonder …Reflection on what keeps us from persevering in faith and stewardship like the mustard seed I wonder, is it a lack of our disciplined practice? Is it a lack of humility (thinking grace has been earned)? Or confusion about what is enough and what is abundant?The dutiful servant has merely done what was expected of him, shouldn’t that be true at least for disciples of Jesus Christ, practicing disciplined and faithful stewardship?Pray…Holy God,open my heart and mind.Help me to be a good steward.Amen.
Written by The Rev. Lance Ousley. Rev. Ousley is rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Houston, TX and is a former board member of TENS and believes faithful stewardship leads to a joyous life. While Lance was Canon for Stewardship and Development in the Diocese of Olympia (Seattle, WA), he authored Stewards Stirrings, a 3-year commentary on the lectionary texts focused on preaching and teaching stewardship.From The Episcopal Network for Stewardship
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