I once attended a Bible study on stewardship taught by then Bishop Ted Schneider of the Metro DC Synod. Bishop Schneider told us... "the church doesn't have a money problem. It has a priority problem, a commitment problem, and a faith problem... but it does not have a money problem." He used several Bible passages to illustrate his point, but the one that stands out for me is the story of the Wise Men.
Bishop Schneider said that not only did these men have the courage to follow the star and the vision of the future that it represented - but they didn't let Herod or any other impediment stop them. And then - when they found the Christ Child - they were driven to their knees, and didn't hesitate to give the most prescious things they owned - gold, frankincense, and myrrh - to an infant... in a manger... in a stall... in a lowly city.
Bishop Schneider then left us with this statement... If meeting the Christ Child doesn't move us to do the same, then perhaps we haven't truly met the Christ Child. Perhaps we are still seeking... searching... waithing to meet God.
- What's your reaction to Bishop Schneider's statement that the church doesn't have a money problem... that, instead, it has a priority problem, a commitment problem, a faith problem... but it does not have a money problem..."?
- Bishop Schneider's point, of course, is that "meeting"God changes us; and that part of that change is learning to trust God to care and provide for us, so that we are free to live faithful and generous lives. Do you feel as if you have been changed by "meeting"God? What faith struggles get in the way of your being "free"to live a faithful and generous life?
Dear Lord, help me to meet you in the manger, on the cross, and in my everyday life. Drive me to my knees. Change me. Amen.