In a callback to my college days, I visited a Coinstar with my change jar this week. Banks are loathe to accept rolled coins from non-members, and my bank (while awesome) does not exist in the same way others do, so to make my collected change conveniently spendable, I grit my financial teeth and become That Guy at the supermarket, loudly shoving coins into the big green currency converter. Coinstar charges 8%, which is both astronomical and a small price to pay for paper currency when you have a jar of change and no other way to redeem it. After its pound of flesh, I walked away with $26 (and a little bit of change). So Coinstar made $2.32, if my math is right, which is rarely. If they had taken 10%, it would have been $2.96. That’s an all right amount to pay for conversion—at least, to me.
It got me thinking about giving. (I know, an appropriate thought in the midst of stewardship, right?) What is discipleship worth?
I am not talking about grace—the grace of God is not contingent upon anything except the grace of God. Our works, our right living, our faith, our giving—none of that has any bearing on what God has already culminated, completed, and finished in Jesus Christ. Our works, our right living, our faith, and our giving are responses in discipleship, so again, I ask—what is discipleship worth?
It is a process and contingent on a lot of factors. Part of Giving Yourself Away is believing that God is, then choosing to disciple to Christ and re-member yourself to the Church and the Church to you. And then, it is about giving, for we are called to give just as much as we are to believe, to follow, and to participate in life in Christ. I am not about to compare faithful giving to dumping coins into a sorting machine that has to be half-blender based on the noises it makes. But what if we viewed giving as something that’s a given and has no effect on the rest of our budget? What if you were to look at the amount of money you have for you after your giving back to God has already been accomplished. It may change your perspective. Will you say, “I really wish I had that $2.96,” or “Score! Twenty-six dollars!”
This Sunday, I hope you will be present as we continue to talk, worship, and give ourselves away. This week, I hope you will sit down and go over your finances, considering your pledge for the 2013 year of giving at Midway Hills. Today, I hope you will pray for God’s guidance and grace in everything you do, and in every way you give yourself away. And right now, I hope you will keep reading this newsletter. Because it’s awesome.