What has God given you?
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
- Genesis 42:1-2
Our opportunities to be generous rarely land on life-or-death situations. Few of us encounter famine on a daily basis. But we all have opportunities to be generous.
Additionally, few of us have resources so great we can’t even count them (see Genesis 41:49). Reading this story, we can almost imagine Joseph swimming through the granaries like Scrooge McDuck backstroking through his swimming pool of money. We don’t have Joseph’s resources. But we all have resources.
One of the challenges we’ve run into as we’ve studied this passage is the huge disparity between our experiences and the experiences of the people about whom we’re reading. It’s easy to deflect the challenge that passages like these present us with a simple: “But no one is coming to me for help” or “But I don’t have those kinds of resources.”
Part of our dignity as human beings made in the image of God is that we each have something to offer to our neighbor. You can see that even in today’s passage. Jacob’s sons are prepared to offer hard-earned silver in exchange for the much-needed grain.
As we as a community engage our world for good, we feel very aware that different ones of us have different resources available to us. Just as Joseph and the Egyptians had life-giving grain to offer, some of us have life-giving wisdom and attention to offer. Just as Jacob’s sons had hard-earned silver to offer, some of us have financial resources to offer. God’s beautiful generosity come on full display when people with a diverse array of gifts and blessings combine their efforts.
In our communal work to engage our world for good, the primary question isn’t “How much …?” but “What has God given you to bring to the mission?” Don’t let anyone convince you that you have nothing to offer. And don’t let the spirit of comparison creep into your heart. Bring to the table exactly what God has given you and do so joyously.
Take some time to rest with the Lord today and invite him to help you see what it is that he’s given you to bring to our mission to engage our world for good. As each gift or blessing comes to mind, pause to thank God that he’s entrusted it to you and ask him to help you be faithful to use that gift or blessing well.