Not too long ago I wrote a blog called calculations of hope. There is also a calculation of power. You can express it in a formula. Power = capability x will. Whatever capabilities we have are multiplied by our willingness to use them. The potential of money can only be unleashed by your will to spend, or invest it. Imagine if I told you that I deposited in your bank, $1 million, and you could spend it anywhere you wanted to. The only limit I placed on the gift was the condition that you have to get out of your car, and actually go into a bank, talk to a living teller, and withdraw the money. What would people think of you if you told them that it was too difficult for you to actually get out of the car and go and talk to another person to get the money. They would say you were crazy. Think of the capacity or capability that the church has just in terms of its members finances, if we can match their capabilities with their will to use them. Perhaps part of the problem that so many of us believe that we are poor is because we haven’t matched peoples beliefs, their mission mindedness, and their willingness to participate with something they feel the need to do. I’m convinced that one of the reasons that Project 24 was and is popular with laypeople, as they can invest in something beyond them, they believe in the need, they want to help fix it, and they understand God’s call that says true religion is in the care of the fatherless and the widow. There is also something about giving to something that doesn’t benefit you in some way.
Sadly for many there is a confusion between Stewardship and mercy or charity. I have been trying to get people to think about Stewardship as taking care of the house. It is the things we do to keep the lights and plumbing going, care of the Pastor and Sunday School and the youth group etc. It can be assessed and it can be calculated by the formula of power.
Charity is a totally different thing. It is what Jesus was talking about when he said “When you give don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”, When Jesus was speaking there was a temple tax that funded the worship and priests and the building and maintenance, but there was also a temple treasury that collected money for the poor. The story of the widows mite is the story of a women who had nothing who gave all she had to help the poor. That is called charity, mercy, love. In the formula of power it is a huge thing. This poor widow was powerful in that what little she had (capability) was multiplied by her will to give everything she had for the sake of poor and needy people of whom she was one. It was an amazing act that had the power to move Jesus to praise her.
Note how the Paul talks about the calculus of power. God’s power is multiplied when we admit our weakness. God’s strength is multiplied in us when we realize we are powerless. Investing in the helpless and hopeless shows our reliance upon God’s good will and grace. When we acknowledge the weakness, sinfulness, and corrupt nature of everyone around us including partners. We knowledge what is God’s mission and what our task becomes.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
The power of Christ rests upon us when we acknowledge our weakness and utter unworthiness and give ourselves over to His grace.