What Are You Offering?
By Rev. Jordan B. Davis (M.Div.‘14)
Earlier this summer, my husband and I took the crazy and bold jump to adopt a second cat, Jasmine. It has been an incredible adventure as we introduce her to our older cat, Cali, and learn what life is like with a kitten (something I experienced with Cali, however my husband missed). In addition to the headaches, the hissing, and the cuddles, I have also learned some interesting lessons from this new life.
Earlier this week, I set about picking up toys that Jasmine had brought upstairs overnight. This is a habit we laugh about regularly as we take notice of repeat toys and ones that should have been difficult to bring. We take note of their locations – her favorite toys are in the bed, right between my husband and me, while the socks, elastics, and other toys cover the distance from our room to the stairs.
As I chuckled at the choices Jasmine had made that particular night, I began to think about why she chooses what she does and how she determines where to drop them (because why wouldn’t she think this through, as well?). Researchers say that cats offer toys (and animals) as gifts; it might be the one selfless thing they do! Jasmine has made a practice of offering us gifts of her most prized toys. It seems she wants to share the best with us but also doesn’t want to limit what she offers (including the plastic tab from the milk jug, always one of my favorites and one that makes me laugh through the entire day!). It is her way of expressing love and joy. It is her way of inviting us into the fun!
Now, this isn’t just about my cats. This is about us – congregational leaders and parishioners alike. Can we learn something from the way that our pets offer their toys and lives to us? The offering of gifts from cats and the unconditional love of dogs – these are things that we might do best to take notice of.
What if we were to offer our very best to God, not just on Sunday but day-in and day-out? What if we didn’t just bring our best, but also everything else that we have? Offering not just our money on Sunday, but offering our gifts of love, of grace, of mercy for one another every day to the one who has shown us the greatest love, grace, and mercy there is – isn’t that what it is all about, anyway?
I think about Abraham offering Isaac; I think of the offering of the first fruits; I think of the woman offering her single coin; I think of Christ offering his life; I think of God offering God’s Son. Offering their best, their only. Taking their greatest gift, and their least, to the one who gives so much more.
We are quickly approaching the common time for stewardship campaigns. Some will talk about planting seeds or 20/20 vision. Others will come up with other creative ways to help congregations think about giving money (oh, and time and talents, right?). However you approach it, I encourage every congregation to think not just about our best gifts, but also those socks and hair ties, the plastic milk jug rings pulled from the trash, that are left at the top of the stairs. Not quite good enough to bring to the bed, but still worth offering.
What are you offering to God today?
What are you leaving behind that might delight God even more than your favorite toy?