Here’s another Lenten devotional that is applicable to our lives all year long. What are some things that you are holding onto? What are some things that you need to let go of?
The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. My mother won’t let go, she won’t ever let go of her purse. There is nothing left of value inside it. The one time I did go through it, I discovered three dollars in change, shiny candy wrappers, and a book of worthless check blanks.
Nothing in there is worth stealing. And the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Nonetheless, she worries about it constantly. And she guards it with her life. On account of her Alzheimer’s disease, she might forget everything else. But never her purse.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. She hangs on to it — even to her own detriment. She won’t let go. My mother won’t ever let go of her purse.
And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in God’s good work. I think to myself: What about me? What do I hold onto? My mother and her purse become a parable for the life I live. And I make this reckoning with myself and God.
I clutch at all these treasures the way my mother’s frail fingers wrap around her beloved purse. It is stupid, I know. For like the assorted contents of my mother’s pocketbook, my treasures have no enduring value. But I hold onto them anyway. Like my mother, I grasp them so tightly.
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. My predisposition is to act just as she does. But why? I wonder. Why? Why? I consider not just the worthlessness of my amalgamated treasures, but also the example of the Lord himself.
The cross casts its long shadow across the way of my journey. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us. My attention is drawn to the One who had everything but surrendered it all there, at Calvary. Where everyone else would hold on, he let go.
And in that act of surrender came life for you and me. The miracle of the passion touches me deeply. The tight grip I keep on my ersatz treasures relaxes. Like my mother, I am inclined to hold on. But faith calls me to let go. I trust not just my treasures but my brokenness to God. My empty soul fills with gratitude.
In this act of surrender, I find the way of blessing.
And there is grace. Thanks be to God for God’s indescribable gift!
(c) 2014 Rev. Tim Lanham
San Francisco Theological Seminary