I had the opportunity last Saturday to speak to a group of women about stewardship. Boy-- it was a humbling experience. First of all, I don't think I would have chosen this topic for myself. It is difficult to talk about money and address a group with different perspectives and circumstances on the subject. One unifying factor though, they (like me at one time) have husbands in school. Then I try to add our cultural context. It can be quite a complex subject. Jesus sure talked about it a lot and always had a very pointed purpose. It was good for me to spend focused time in the Bible, particularly at feet of Jesus, allowing the words to read me and my heart in the way I view God's provisions in money and resources.
It was a challenge though, and I was more than a bit nervous about it. Then I realized why this whole thing was so intimidating. You see, I love writing. Truly, I do. And one of the reasons I love it so very much is because of one word. Editing. My mouth has gotten me in more trouble over the years and when you write, you can first emit the most glorious word vomit and then proceed, over the course of a few days, to clean it all up.
The line above used to be inhabited by incoherent, undeveloped phrases that you don't need to see and so I erased them:) Beautiful, huh?!?!
And when you speak to a group about anything--- and it is recorded--- there is not always the opportunity to use this remarkable tool. Again, such a humbling experience. I left having been given an invaluable, historic perspective from which to draw when I desire to hear from others what is being said despite imperfect speech.
I wanted to be practical and offer advice I had learned through years of budgeting and grocery shopping as well as highlight copious, biblical wisdom. However, I think the most important thing in teaching about anything is that serves a larger purpose. And that was really the point of what I most wanted to say. I was so concerned that the ladies didn't hear another spiritual to do list but instead, heard the gospel of "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God." I spent two days afterward agonizing over what I said and didn't say. It made me completely crazy.
Then it hit me. The thing I wanted to communicate most of all was the very thing I was neglecting. I was requiring a perfection from myself that just isn't attainable. As I told the ladies, when Jesus was here He not only knew all but did all that was always right. He was Perfection Personified. This Good News meets even a stumbling conference speaker who trusts Him ~ and His grace covers over all her deficits. He can be trusted with the hearts of the women with whom I was honored to spend time as well. As I pray for each of them and for myself, God promises to hear the repentance and the praise. What wonderful mercy--- revealed by the Spirit that arrests my failing in the way of my own righteousness.