Last week in our small group we were discussing the first chapter of James, vs. 9-10, “The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position….” A discussion about wealth ensued. Are we wealthy, thinking of course in financial terms? Compared to Warren Buffet, NO; but compared to most in the world, YES We are! Then someone asked, “What does it mean to be wealthy? I mean, could wealth be measured in nonfinancial terms?” We all seemed to agree that one could be financially poor, yet wealthy in other important ways.
This got me to thinking. I’ve been disappointed that our financial giving at Covenant was significantly below budget in 2013. I’m not sure why and our leadership has struggled to understand as well. I’ve had moments when this disappointment has dominated my thoughts and I’ve become discouraged. “What does this say about the strength of Covenant? How do I, or we, go forward?”
Then I realized that I do think of wealth primarily in financial terms. When I’ve got $50 in my wallet, I seem to feel better about myself, more secure. If Covenant is awash in money (and relatively speaking, we are) that’s a good thing. However, if I truly believe wealth can be measured in nonfinancial terms, it dawned on me that we, Covenant, are overflowing with wealth.
We are wealthy in missional, relational ways. I celebrate our compassion for Ridgecrest Elementary, our leaders Ashley Huttula and now Jane Sucic, our sixteen tutors, the Bible and Koinonia groups and the children who made lunches, snacks and treats for the staff this past Fall. I’m excited to see the plans to continue our encouragement of Ridgecrest this Winter and Spring. I celebrate our Kids to Camp Ministry, led by Linda Brouwer and Mary Witherspoon and supported by so many passionate volunteers as we seek to impact twenty children this year in the name of Jesus. I celebrate our Covenant Crafters and their heart to make clothes, hats and other items for our community. I celebrate our children and their efforts to collect 1000 pairs of socks for people in our community. I celebrate our heart for people struggling with addiction as we provide meeting space for twelve step groups, offering hospitality of drinks and cookies. We hope to develop a complete ministry team to carry forward this ministry. I celebrate our youth ministry, with Chris and a large group of volunteers who are reaching Covenant youth and youth in our community. I celebrate our Stephen Ministers who are caring compassionately for people in various forms of crisis. I am thankful for the privilege of seeing Jesus alive in so many, seeing the Spirit of God changing lives, seeing the love of Jesus being passed around so lavishly.
And then I think of my personal blessings: Jean, our children, our six grandchildren and a lovingly supportive extended family.
And I remember, I am wealthy, we are wealthy in ways that give life and light. We are the light of the world. We are such a community that if we were to fold up and go away, even some athiests and agnostics would be saddened because of the positive difference we make. We are a light to the world and the darkness will never be able to extinguish it.
As an afterthought I wonder if I’ll ever make Forbes’ list of wealthiest people……Probably not. Still I am wealthy; we are wealthy.