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Find a cause that you care deeply about and them put your money there instead of spreading it among so many different causes that it gets split only small enough to cover some postage for the next request.

 


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
February 26,2007

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E
xercise Those Generosity Muscles

Just came across this exercise suggested for seniors, to build muscle Strength in the arms and shoulders.  The article suggested doing It three days a week.

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-LB potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax. Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-LB potato sacks. Then 50-LB potato sacks.  Eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-LB potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

(I'm at this level)    After you feel confident at this level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

Okay I love this joke because I think it is a good metaphor for the way many of us give.  We have income tax statements that indicate a great deal of generosity.  We have causes that we care about and contribute to, but not enough to build any real muscle or make any real difference.

I give a few dollars here and there to causes, more because they ask and I have a hard time refusing.  And the amount I give probably just equals the amount that is spent asking me for my donation, so it becomes like the empty potato sack.  If I give a pittance to enough different causes, I can start a lot of potato sacks.

When you get back the return from the IRS maybe a portion of what was returned to you because you claimed so many charitable deductions could be the beginning of putting potatoes in those sacks.

Jesus said, "Where you treasure is, there will your heart be also."  So where would you like your heart to be?  Exercise those muscles.  The heart is a muscle also so we can begin to exercise the heart.  Find a cause that you care deeply about and them put your money there instead of spreading it among so many different causes that it gets split only small enough to cover some postage for the next request.  Give generously and then follow the progress of whatever cause you are giving to.

In the case of your giving to your church, that should be obvious.  We get it all backwards sometimes.  We give if and when we agree with what our church is doing and withhold and let it get weak when we do not, instead of giving generously to keep it strong, and then getting involved with the decisions about where that might gets exercised and that the mission stays focused.

Just as we want our faith to be strong, we want the community we worship with to be strong and vibrant.  So we put our treasure there and then we help to focus the use of that treasure.

Lord, May the only burden that we ever carry be the one of carrying back to you a share of what you have given us. Amen.




Copyright 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.



The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.