Open Ears, Open Hands

It’s that time of year. Time to review my giving. Check up on charitable donations. Summer is chaotic. Sometimes I forget to schedule a tithe check. When I pull up my giving history, I see where the holes are. Ouch. Do I have enough to catch up my contributions in one swoop?

Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it, when it is in your power to do so. Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go and come back; I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” when you have it. Proverbs 3:27-28 (CEB)

When I read this yesterday, it stood out, but I wasn’t exactly sure why. I check my balances. Yeah, it is in my power to do so. Now. Not tomorrow. Because I have it. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

There are many ways we give. Some friends concentrate on disaster relief, putting their money where acute needs have arisen. Others give through donating time- free labor in an area of specialty to charitable organizations that need their skills. Some host benefit dinners or concerts. They walk, run, or ride for a cause.

Those who close their ears to the cries of the poor
will themselves call out but receive no answer.
 Prov. 21:13 (CEB)

Open our ears to hear, open our hands to give. The cries are about food and healthcare. Emergency shelter and affordable housing. Safety and recovery from situations of abuse. And each of us have causes that are near to our hearts. Loved ones who have suffered from diseases with no cure or treatment. Quality of life for those with disabilities.

And there are issues of justice. Entrenched inequities. Sinful systems designed to keep the poor poor and make the rich richer. To divide black from white. To protect the privileged from the consequences of their choices and incarcerate the marginalized for similar mistakes.

Acting with righteousness and justice
is more valued by the Lord than sacrifice.
 Prov. 21:3 (CEB)

As a nation. As a corporation. As a state and a municipality. As a church. As an individual. Where are the organizations that work for justice? In the trenches. Addressing education, providing opportunities. Legal advocacy. And more. Doing the work, becoming family to Jesus:

“My mother and brothers are those who listen to God’s word and do it.” Luke 8:21 (CEB)

May we hear the cries of the poor and respond. May we recognize our neighbor’s voice. May we give what is in our ability to give. May we learn what the Lord values. And act with justice. That we may cooperate with bringing God’s kingdom of justice into our personal lives, our community, our country, and our world.


Bulletin: 9/23
Order of Service: 9/23
Sermon: Living in the Light, Loving Through the Hurts -1 John: 1&2

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