Thursday, May 2, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sowing God’s Field
Psalm. 112

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely…He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.” Psalm 112:5,9

Do we sow? Sow is defined by scattering or spreading something (usually seed) around and over an area for the intention of growing something. In Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 9, we see Paul uses the exact verse from Psalm 112:9 when describing how to sow generously. Paul states “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:6-8) Through God’s abounding grace, God can enable each Christian to abound in generous deeds.

When I look out our Malayalee community, I am amazed at how much God has blessed us. My parents often tell me how difficult it was for their generation and how our community had very little back then in Kerala. My mother mentioned to me how every kid in her village would bring a scoop of rice to give as offertory to the Church on Sunday, because the majority of people did not have the financial resources to give money. The church would then pool all the rice together and auction it for money. I am still amazed at the story my mom told me of how my grandmother would fast and pray every Friday, and she would save the small scoop of rice she would have eaten normally. Over a period of time, when that amount of rice saved became a substantial amount, my grandmother gave it to the poor. I have heard so many countless stories of how our ancestors, who had very little, gave so much of what they could to help others. Now, here and back in Kerala, our community has been blessed abundantly. I look around and I see how many of us have beautiful homes, nice clothes, cars, enough food to eat, and amazing electronics such as smartphones and LED TV’s. Many of us have a great education and good jobs. We have great friends and family. Many of us have good health. God has provided us with so much.

However, we have to remember there are so many people in the world who are not in such a blessed position. There are many who are poor and hungry, many others who are sick and lonely…there is so much suffering in the world…but are we doing anything about it? Are we sowing the seeds God has blessed us with to help others? For those who are blessed financially, it is important to donate money to various charities and church organizations to help others…but are we donating our time and talents as well? At the hospital that I work I see how volunteers visit and cheer the sick either by bringing in their pet dogs, playing beautiful music in the waiting areas, or dressing up as clowns for the sick children. Can we donate our time to serve food at a soup kitchen for the homeless, or visit those lonely in prisons and nursing homes, etc? Jesus teaches in Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

I remember a story I read a long time ago about two seas in Palestine. One sea is beautiful where there is fish in it, where people swim in, and where every kind of life is happier because its there. The other sea has no fish in it, people dare not swim in it, and there is no life encompassing it. The difference is not the River Jordan, because it empties the same good water into both…nor the soil that lies around it. The difference is that one sea receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows in, another flows out. The giving and receiving go in equal measure. The other sea is shrewder, it hoards the its income jealously…every drop it get, it keeps. The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. Which “sea” are we?

Prayer: “Dear Lord, thank you for blessing and providing for all our needs. We ask that you helps us commit our time, resources, and lives to helping the poor, sick, and less fortunate. Amen.”

Abe Tharakan, St. Andrews MTC, NY