Written by Steven Liechty
"Jesus and his disciples had been invited to a wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They are out of wine.'" - John 2:2-3
Being a pastor means you must occasionally endure good natured barbs from church members about our supposed ability to walk on water, feed thousands from a Happy Meal and turn water into wine; the good stuff mind you, Cheval Blanc 1947 not Yellowtail 2013.
But hear me on this: dishing up astounding, lavish abundance is the call of every Christian, not just pastors. It's what you signed up for.
The God of Jesus Christ just isn't the stern and stingy sort. Jesus reveals a God of reckless generosity. A God who's like a manager paying a full day's wage for one hour of work; a God who's like a father welcoming a train-wreck-of-a-son home with a ring, a new suit and a kickin' party; a God who's like a sower heedlessly hurling seed anywhere and everywhere in complete disregard of soil quality.
And if we have encountered God's lavish, abundant love in Jesus, we are called to respond in kind: Like foreign wise men who lay high-end luxury gifts before a newborn pauper-king; like the tax collector who gave away half his income; like Mary, who anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume while the disciples sat around grumbling about a waste of money.
How will you be reckless and extravagantly generous today? Will you give someone an hour of your time and attention to just listen? Will you treat a perfect stranger to lunch? Will you bump up your pledge to the church in a big way? Will you sell your belongings, or at least the 75% you don't need or use, and give to the poor?
If you do you may find yourself walking on water with Jesus, stuffed to bursting with love and intoxicated with abundant life.
Generous and gracious God, help me to remember that you call me to abundant life, not to a life of abundance.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.