God has given you everything

How am I managing it all?

We are starting a series I’m calling Managing it and the title of today’s message is “How are you Managing it all?” Because if you think about it for a moment… stop and think about it…God has given you everything. God has given you your brain. Your heart. Your breath. Science can tell us a lot about our physical selves, but it cannot tell us why you in particular came into being and why you have been given another day…

A common prayer I have heard my Pentecostal colleagues pray is: “Lord thank you for waking me up this morning.” Paul tells us that we are our bodies are “God’s temple.” I believe God has also given you the people you love. We know about DNA and how people form attachments and attractions… but I don’t believe any amount of science could tell us why we have these particular folks in our lives.

When Elias was born one of my first thoughts was… you are a borrowed gift from God. You are not my possession. You are God’s and I get to love you for the rest of my life. And that’s just our very lives and the lives of our loved ones … But our scripture tells us that God brought everything into being. All of creation belongs to God. “Through Jesus all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Elias asked me about this in the car one day. He has a beloved stuffed animal and he said, “So God made piggy.” Well God did not come down and make piggy, but the Holy Spirit inspired someone to create Piggy and without atoms that God smashed together at creation, we wouldn’t have the fabric or the cotton to make piggy. God brought all things into being… all of creation belongs to God. Everything we have belongs to God. The tire that the little boy in Kenya plays with and the iphones that permeate American childhood. All of creation belongs to God…. Even the pew you are sitting on. This church does not belong to any of us… it belongs to God.

And we in America, compared to most of the world… have a lot. If you have ever received a box on your doorstep and you could not remember what was in it, you have far more than most of the world. In some parts of the world, we know that the church has to be underground, hidden from public view because there is so much violence and persecution against Christians… believers have to sit on dirt floors in the dark, gather in basements, warehouses and pray in hushed voices by candlelight… Americans have a lot that belongs to God. Please notice that I am not saying God has blessed Americans with a lot. God tells us very clearly that he blesses the poor. What I am saying is that everything belongs to God and compared to the rest of the world, Americans have a lot to manage.

Today in our scripture Jesus is asking us to look at all that we have … and ask ourselves “how are we managing it all?” Jesus tells his disciples a complicated parable of a boss taking account of what his employee is doing and reminds us this morning that God isn’t waiting until you get to heaven to take an account of how you are managing. He sees you now. And he is asking: How are you managing all of it? When you think about all that you have are you giving some here and some there and some over there and then we have to do this… and then oh yeah there’s those poor people or there’s the church. I heard one preacher say… people pray to win the lottery all the time. Why would God give you 1 million dollars if you can’t manage the thousands that you have? God knows that if he allowed you to win the lottery you would not be able to handle it. You would be crushed by it… I think all of us want to believe that we would first give our money to the church and the poor and all our friends and family and neighbors in need… and then and only then would we  buy that fancy car and a house in the French Alps… but really is that what you are doing now?

Do you give first to the church and those in need? Or is God getting the leftovers? And why would it be any different if you had a million dollars… ? And of course, this applies to the time we have too… We sometimes think… well if only I had more time then I could volunteer for the homeless shelter.  Whenever I hear a message like this, I have to tell you that they are so so hard. I am such an expert at giving every reason under the sun why I can’t, I shouldn’t…. And I really do believe that there are some folks who really can’t and shouldn’t give your time or your money… If you have lost your job, if you are so ill that you cannot work, if you are buried under financial debt, if you are tending to a sick child or an elderly parent, if you are in school… there are seasons in our lives when meeting our basic needs must come first…

God doesn’t want us to feed the hungry in such a way that we starve. But Our God is a God of healing and provision and there will come a day when you can give in the way that you want to give…and I do believe that God sees your intention and your dedication and blesses you just the same…. But if we are honest with ourselves… most of us really are in a position where we can and we should give more of our time and our money…  Remember all… all that we have belongs to God… all of it… our money…. Our time… our breath…. our very lives…

In other parts of our scripture we are told to lay down our lives… In 1 John we hear, “Jesus laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  In a different version of our Eucharistic prayer, our prayer is that we would offer up to God “ourselves, our souls, and our bodies.” Most of us are not in a season when meeting our basic needs is the only thing we can manage… Most of need to look at how we are managing it all…. Most of us do need to look at our budgets and our time and see where God gets put in… Are you doing everything else first and then giving our time and money to the church and those in need? So in the week ahead… take an account of your money and your time… Remember that everything belongs to God.  And ask yourself… How am I managing it all?