Friday, November 13, 2009

Giving what we've got...

I preached and presided at Holy Communion at the MaOnShan Truth Church last Sunday... all in English except for the opening "The Lord be with you" part, which I did in Cantonese.  Well, something approximating Cantonese at any rate.

The church services are held in the Lutheran School building multi-purpose room, so it's fairly stark, but the altar is always beautifully adorned with  flowers which the altar group takes turns arranging.  It's quite a big deal, and people  even take classes so they can make the arrangements as beautifully as possible.

My preaching text was the poor widow who gave her two last coins to the temple treasury, which was the best way she knew how to give it to God.

I draw courage from that example of that woman, who gave her all.  I think this is what whoever arranged the flowers on Sunday did, she gave it her all.  And you can see it's beautiful. I think that's what the 13-member Women's Choir who sang on Sunday did, they gave it their all, and their song was stirring.  And that's what I am trying to do with my teaching and preaching here in Hong Kong.

I am rich in so many ways... my family and the ability to earn a salary, and the home we live in here... and I am poor in so many other ways -  poor in the language and cultural skills, poor in my time management skills, poor at trying to figure out how to manage a classroom and inspire my students.  Do you see this photo of the little girl looking quizzically at Wayne?  I feel like that's how my students of all ages are always looking at me. (Like, "Who ARE you and WHAT are you doing here, anyway??") (OK  I'll be honest, sometimes my own family members look at me that way too :)

But that Biblical widow can inspire us to give God what little bits we've got... all two coins worth... and trust that in God's alchemy, it will become more than we can even imagine.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."  Mark 12:43-44

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