From the Minister's Desk
It's that time of year again when we are given the marvelous opportunity to share in the abundance of needs of our sisters and brothers by contributing to One Great Hour of Sharing. By the grace of God, all of us have the power to give, and the gifts we give make the world more the way God intended it to be – a place where everyone has what they need. Together, we can achieve a fair balance on this planet we all share, giving right back to God what God has so richly bestowed upon us.
The apostle Paul modeled this ecumenical offering in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, making an appeal to the early Christian communities to respond to those in Jerusalem who had just experienced a devastating famine. Thus, Paul's ecumenical, church-wide offering was not only practical in leveraging funds so they could make the most impact, together, but it was also one of the first visible expressions of the early Church's unity in Christ. This offering or ministry was a way for Paul to model the unity of all believers and to provide a pragmatic mechanism for demonstrating their care and concern for one another – even if they did not know each other personally. Just as we do through One Great Hour of Sharing.
The One Great Hour of Sharing offering reaches those near and far, sometimes changing the life of someone in distress in your own congregation or community, and at other times impacting the lives of those we may never meet but who are in desperate need of our compassion and generosity. God provides the gifts and resources so that we can give back. It's not the size of the gift that matters; it is that we give what we have. We're simply giving back to God what is already God's – and everyone has a gift to bring!
"For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may before your need in order that there may be a fair balance" (2 Corinthians 8:12-15). The Message translates it this way, "Nothing left over to the one with the most; nothing lacking to the one with the least."
As the Church in the world, through One Great Hour of Sharing, we have the opportunity to act in one accord as the body of Christ, to ensure that all of God's children have what they need. This is the offering that Paul was promoting, and this is still our ministry, all these centuries later. Together, we will achieve a fair balance, bringing about a world the way God intended it to be.