Rustlings (December 22, 2014)

Over twenty years ago…a young man walked into my study and laid a check on the desk in front of me. I picked it up, glanced at the amount and then looked at him. I had been privileged to pastor him and his family for years. He had a heart of gold but did not have Midas’ touch when it came to business. He and his wife both struggled to make ends meet. They lived week to week, paycheck to paycheck and somehow overcame one unforeseen financial setback after another. I looked at him and then looked at the check again. It wasn’t an overwhelming amount, but it was far more than I would ever expect him to give to the church.

I was honest. I peered up from the paper and asked, “Can you really afford this?” He shrugged his shoulders and simply said, “We’ve been putting back a little every month so that we could contribute to the Christmas Missions Offering. Dr. Dant, I’ve learned over the years, I can’t outgive God.”

Six months ago…I moved to Greenville. During this first holiday season, I’ve been able to give and receive many gifts. I’ve enjoyed sharing tokens and words of love and appreciation with co-workers and family. I’ve enjoyed shared time with Sunday School classes, church families and the Greenville community at large. You’ve been generous to me this year. Thank you.

Over two thousand years ago…we received the greatest gift imaginable – God’s gift of God’s self in the person of the Christ child. It seems no matter what I
do – day to day, Sunday to Sunday, week to week and year to year – I can’t outgive God. I’m going to continue trying to reflect God’s generosity, however. I’m going to make one more gift to the Lula Whilden Missions Offering, and I’m going to write one extra check to our church’s budget. I’ve been blessed by God’s generosity and yours. I’m hoping my gifts provide some small blessing in a God’s world…

Merry Christmas,
Jim