Sunday, May 15, 2011

Extravagant People

By Belinda

Sam and Jamie, are my two best pie customers. They ordered a pie a month (Jamie for one year and Sam for two) for our Power of One fundraising effort at work. I think the fact that they are both bachelors makes them  especially susceptible when it comes to pie. Sometimes I feel that I am shamelessly taking advantage of them but then I think of the cause (global missions to children with disabilities,) and I'm okay taking their money.

When April turned to May and they knew another pie was on the way, Sam said to Jamie, over supper at cell group, "I'll fight you for them. The last man standing takes both." :) Jamie demurred and kept his pie.

But Sam made me smile as he danced out of our house on Thursday with his May pie. He said he planned to give half of it away, because, he sang with joy, "I have 19 more of them coming!" He felt "pie rich" enough to be generous--he had pies in the bank.

I laughed about it to myself because if he only knew, he could have pies for life (well my life at least) if he wanted them, but it made me think about riches of a different kind.

I've been pretty busy lately. People often tell me that they think I get a lot done, or that I'm one of the busiest people they know--it's just me being who God made me to be; but lately I've been extra busy, not necessarily by choice but by circumstances outside my control.

As a result I have had scant time to wallow in lavish amounts of time in God's presence by sitting down and reading, praying and journalling. Studying Bruxey Cavey's book, The End of Religion (see Internet Monk for a thoughtful review) helped prevent me from thinking I was spiritually going downhill rapidly because of that. Instead I realized that what matters is not the ritualized, formalized religious things I do; much as I cherish and need the disciplines that put me "before him." What matters is keeping God close in my heart.

I found myself trying to imagine not having a relationship with Christ; not knowing his grace, goodness and love in my life, and it made me shudder at the emptiness, loneliness and hollowness that life would be for me without God. When I thought of the richness of my faith, and all that it means to me, I thought about Sam and his pies. He doesn't keep a good thing (well he thinks they are good) to himself, because he has a supply of more where that one came from. His pie supply is nothing compared to the riches of life in Christ and shouldn't we who have that be the most generous in sharing it?

I'm not speaking specifically of sharing the Gospel in words, although I would never fail to share the hope and joy that I have in Christ, if someone was interested. No, I'm talking about something that is almost harder than verbally sharing faith. I'm talking about being generous with things like grace; love; forgiveness; mercy and kindness--those things which we in the Kingdom have been shown in such abundance by God through Christ. That should mark us, surely? We should be the most extravagant of people in those qualities. I'm really not speaking to anyone else but me. It was a thought that made me want to be at least as liberal as Sam is with his pies, because I know that there is boundless mercy for me; boundless grace; boundless forgiveness; boundless kindness; boundless love.

And I am so grateful for that.


Marilyn said...

Yes. A lovely reminder and encouragement to start a week. We serve from out of His riches. May we be extravagant! And if we can't be, let's get to the bottom of whatever our fear is (speaking totally to myself here).

Belinda said...

Amen, Marilyn: "out of his riches!"

Brave Raven said...

What an exhortation. If only I could live with a trail of broken alabaster bottles behind me. Lavishing love.

Dolores Ayotte said...

Belinda...I love the analogy you have used with the pies to show the desire to share our abundance. It's a great story that portrays a simple life lesson on how to be generous and grateful. If there is one thing I enjoy, it is the use of storytelling to get Christ's message across in everyday events and opportunies. Thanks!

Belinda said...

Yes, Brave Raven, we receive so MUCH, so liberally. The pies made me think about that! Yes, broken alabaster is right on.

Belinda said...

Dolores, thank you for the story telling encouragement! :)

Dave Hingsburger said...

You were very extravagant with your time helping me out with something. I appreciate what you did and the time that you gave. I attest to the fact that, in regards to the message in this post, you walk the talk.

Belinda said...

Dave, it was a privilege and pleasure to contribute to something so fine.