There is a story by an unknown author that goes like this:
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.
The wise woman had a very generous heart, but where does that generosity come from? She is also known as wise, but where does that wisdom come from? I don’t know the source of the story, whether or not it was meant to reveal her closeness in her character to God’s, but as a Christian I believe what was inside her is an example of Christian perfection.
In his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:18-23), the Apostle Paul, encouraged his readers to not be deceived by worldly wisdom, but rather understand that we are of Christ. This understanding enables us to see things in this world differently, the way God sees them. The woman in the story did three things I believe revealed God’s character in her life:
1) She collected the precious stone.
2) She recognized need.
3) She gave without hesitation.
Gaining wealth is not inherently bad. John Wesley said, concerning wealth, that we should “Earn all you can, give all you can, and save all you can.” Don’t however miss the balance in this statement. “Earn all you can” means make every effort to earn that is available to you. “Give all you can” means to give generously to all needs available to you. “Save all you can” means to have available to you the means to be generous when those needs arise. The wise woman picked up the stone not knowing what purpose it would serve. Its ultimate purpose was to show the hungry traveler that there is something more precious than a precious stone.
Join us this Sunday, September 23rd, at 10:30 AM as we explore how being generous in wisdom can transform the world.
In God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church