I remember being told a story once of a young boy, maybe eight or nine years old,
who had received a card for his birthday, and in his card was a twenty-dollar bill.
At that time and even today probably, twenty dollars might be considered to be a lot of money for an eight- or nine-year-old child, so this was no small gift.
On the Sunday following the little boy’s birthday and the receiving of the birthday card with the twenty-dollar bill, the young boy went to church with his mother and his sister. When the time came for the offering plate to be passed, his mom, a single mother raising two children and doing the best she could, put her offering in the plate. Then, to her surprise and joy, her son reached into his pocket and took out the twenty dollars he had received for his birthday and put the bill in the offering plate.
The scripture reading on Sunday was from Exodus where we were reminded of how Moses and Aaron led the people of Israel into the Wilderness, where they wandered lost, hungry, and disgruntled. The Israelites were angry at Moses and Aaron for leading them away from a place where food was plentiful and into a land where they were starving. They grumbled at Moses and Aaron, but they were really angry at God.
And what happened?
God heard their grumblings and said to Moses “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you,” and “at twilight you shall eat meat.” And so it was that God provided manna in the morning to make bread and at twilight quails covered the camp and provided meat.
We all have them.
Stories of having, stories of giving, and ultimately stories of receiving.
The Bible is full of them.
Stories not unlike our own stories.
Because sometimes we might also feel lost, we might also feel forgotten, we might also feel
hungry, and we might also be angry at God.
Then, even when all seems lost, God provides the direction.
And the blessings flow.
“Do this in Remembrance of me…”
Last Sunday and every Sunday now, we hear those words as we sit at God’s table and partake in the feast that is Communion. We take the bread, and we drink from the cup, as was told to us, the body and the blood of Jesus.
Because in Luke we are reminded of the story of God’s ultimate gift, God’s gift of the new covenant. We remember that through God’s sacrifice we were given the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, instilled with the Holy Spirit that now lives in us. But it’s even better than that, we are reminded that we don’t have to be perfect to receive this blessing because even Judas, while his story included being tempted by money and greed, and a betrayer, still had a seat at the table and was served despite what Jesus knew of his intentions.
More stories, stories of sacrifice, stories of forgiveness, stories of love.
The little boy with his twenty-dollar bill must have felt that he had enough already. He had God’s love, the Holy Spirit in his heart. He had the love of his mother and his sister, his family. And he must have felt that what he would receive through sharing the blessing he held in his pocket, would be a much larger gift, one that would make his heart fuller, one that allowed him to give back to God.
A nice lesson from one so young, a nice money story.
What are the stories from the rest of us?
Is what we have in our hearts enough?
What stories can we remember that will allow us to release and reimagine and restore so we can write the story that God is begging us to live into?
Maybe we just need to pray about it:
Giving and loving God,
I am made of stories.
Stories of heartbreak and triumph,
Stories of love and tragedy,
Stories of families who belong and families who break,
Stories of loose ends and new beginnings.
I have absorbed stories that live in me like an internal compass,
And many that I don’t now wish to carry at all.
But your story remains steadfast: I am loved. I am enough. There is enough for all.
Enough. Enough. Enough.
May this become my constant refrain.
May I believe this is who I am.
May I live trusting your holy design.
Enough. Enough. Enough.