Extravagant Faith

The other morning I went outside to find that about 17 of the bushes in our hedge had been “taken out” by some careless driver sometime late – shortly after the bars in town closed down. I started planting this hedge years ago figuring I’d get the plants while they were small and inexpensive and make up for expense with patience. The plants were starting to look a bit like a hedge when this person destroyed a good sized section of the bushes. I suppose come spring I’ll have to dig deep into my pocket to buy replacements at the current size of the other bushes, which will cost about 10 times as much as the original little plants. As I was considering the thoughts of that expense, and the need to be frugal as a good steward, I thought of the recent and continuing much larger expenses toward helping Haiti with the current tragedy going on there. Add to that the great expenses involved in the upcoming mission trip to Africa and my thoughts centered on how much concern is given over a comparatively small expense for landscaping versus the example of these other two much larger expenses.

Although the landscaping is something that will have daily value and enjoyment, I’m not sure there is eternal value to the hedge. But the other two examples continue sewing into people’s lives, which has immediate and potentiality eternal value. To my mind the comparatively light irritation and expense of replacing the hedge when compared to the suffering of the large population of the people in Haiti keeps things in perspective.

The other day I was speaking to someone in a store. He wasn’t a Christian and he asked how do we justify spending so much time and expense to help others in other nations when we have so many in need right here in America. I think that is a valid question especially since many people are suffering even more with the current economic situation. However, we help at home as well as abroad, not because of ease or difficulty or logic or coercion, but because of obedience and compassion. We help not only because we can and should, but because something compels us as Christians and Americans to do something – knowing that there will always be more to do. Being involved in the process is a big part of the reason people who get involved do so. Some people see resources as a pie that has a limited size that needs to be cut into portions. But biblically we should see resources as a fountain with a flow. And although the volume may vary with the season, with faith it will always over flow.

I think it is more important than ever considering the current economic situation not to pull back from doing good where we can and as we can. When spring comes I suppose I’ll shop around for the best deal on replacement bushes, and if I don’t find some in my price range I’ll just have to wait. But when it comes to Kingdom assignments I think we need to have extravagant faith.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

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