Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
God’s arithmetic is CRAZY! It boils down to this: “when you give, there will be more to give!” No matter what theory of economics you adopt, God’s way isn’t one that we typically adhere to in our world of buying and spending, giving and taking. From a worldly point of view, it’s not wise to do so!
A great example of this is a story in the life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Elijah’s life was difficult, but he believed that God was directing him! He had faith and trust in God!
God provided Elijah with water and food (food delivered by ravens). When the water dried up, God directed the prophet to go to Zarephath. Ouch! It was foreign territory, home of idol worshipers, home of evil king Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. To make matters worse, God sent Elijah to get help from the poorest of the poor, an outcast, a widow!
Life for the widow was difficult. She didn’t have enough food to keep herself and her son alive. So how could she give to a begging prophet showing up at her door? But she did that very thing. She shared. She gave. God’s economics held true. There was enough, and more than enough food. Even after the son died, God gave life.
God’s theory of economics might be summarized this way: life is not how much you
have, life is about the character, values, and faith you demonstrate by the way you manage what you have. God gives us abundant gifts. God nourishes. God gives life! God also gives us the freedom to reject these gifts. Since we’re created in God’s image (God is “giver”), we become our best selves in our giving. (We become our worst selves when we reject the ways of God!)
A young man applied for a job at a bank. After the interview, as he was leaving, he picked up bit of trash on the floor. Then he helped an elderly lady with the heavy door. Not knowing he was being observed, the interviewer called him back and hired him on the spot, saying “anyone who pays attention to the small things as you just did needs to work here.”
All roads lead to Zarephath. In other words, sometimes our physical and spiritual lives dry up. We all have dangers and evil to face. We all the temptations of false gods. We are all tempted to be less than generous. We all have our needs. We all face death!
So, all roads lead to the cross of Jesus Christ. There, at the foot of the cross, we place our lives. There, God will provide for us. God will provide us with nourishment, forgiveness, health, life, and grace.
God’s arithmetic is BEAUTIFUL! God’s gifts are enough for us, and more than enough.