Friday, July 30, 2021

Daredevil Duck, Part 3

This is part of a series of posts that are a sermon I preached at Milton United Methodist Church on July 25.  The sermon was based on Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 6: 1-21.  

So you know what happens next.   Andrew, another disciple, brings a boy from the crowd to Jesus.  The boy has brought 5 barley loaves and two fish.  Maybe it’s his family’s lunch, - one reference I read said that it was “traveling food of the poor” - but whatever it is, he offers it to Jesus.  Interesting that Andrew doesn’t bring the boy and his lunch to Jesus because he thinks it will make a difference – he says in verse 9 “But what are they among so many people.”

What does Jesus do?  The order of his actions is important for us to see.  Jesus prepares the crowd to eat by telling the disciples to have the people sit down on the field in front of him, and then he takes the bread and gives thanks for it.  He gives thanks for a measly five loaves of bread.  It’s not nearly enough to feed more than 5000 people, but that isn’t what Jesus sees.  Jesus sees abundance, and he is grateful for it.  And he gives thanks for it.  And then – and then he feeds them all.

Think back to the church meeting we talked about a few minutes ago.  Why do you think we see scarcity instead of abundance?  I think we are like Daredevil Duck.  We are afraid.  We see how little we think we have, and we are afraid we will run out – that we ourselves will not have enough.  We see with eyes of scarcity because of fear.

Do you remember March of last year?  It was right when the pandemic was picking up steam.  The stock market reacted to the unpredictability – and to the fear the pandemic created - with large drops in value.  Whenever the S&P 500 index drops 7% from the previous day’s close, a “circuit breaker” is triggered – trading stops for 15 minutes to try to create a little calm in the system.  In March, the 7% circuit breaker was triggered four times.  Even one stop is pretty unusual – the breaker hadn’t tripped since 1998.  Four times is a lot.

At the same time, the leadership of the Foundation met together to talk about what was happening.  Remember, the Foundation’s assets are in the market.  We are invested for the long term, but even so, volatility like that is startling.  March happens to be the month when the Foundation’s Grant committee meets to award grant funds to churches and other ministries in our annual conference.  Most of our distributions are made at the direction of donors or depositors, but Foundation grants are made out of our operating account – we tithe our income to ministry.    Would the Foundation let go of 10s of thousands of dollars of operating income in the form of grants while the value of our funds were declining?  

The answer was yes.  

Not only that, but we made additional reserve funds available to the Bishop and cabinet for them to award to churches that needed help in the pandemic.

We are called to feed people.  We are called to be generous.  And the mission of the Foundation includes distributing funds to change the world. And we did.  We continue to do so.  Because that is who we are.  That is who WE are, together.  

Continued in next post

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home