Here are my thoughts for the “Back Page” for this coming Sunday’s (November 3, 2019, 21st Sunday after Pentecost, Year C) bulletin at Fishkill UMC. This and the next couple of weeks will be a focus on stewardship.
In the classic story, “A Christmas Carol”, Ebenezer Scrooge becomes a new man after seeing his future. It would be interesting to know if Charles Dickens was thinking of Zacchaeus when he created this seminal literary character. In one sense, Zacchaeus sees the future when he seeks Jesus that day two thousand years ago.
The prophet Habakkuk writes of concern for his people and is given of a vision that one can assume would be the coming of Christ. As Paul notes, our future is found in Christ.
We set a path for our future when we decided to follow Christ. In our decision to be a United Methodist, we accepted the ideas first proposed by John Wesley some 250 years ago. Ours is a faith motivated by the desire to bring hope to the hopeless, bring healing to the sick, and find sanctuary for the homeless, the goals set forth by Jesus Himself that day in the synagogue in Nazareth.
There are those in this world who would qualify as a Zacchaeus or a pre-Christmas Ebenezer Scrooge. One can only hope that they will find Christ or see the future as it lies before them and change their ways.
In the meantime, the rest of us are faced with a quandary. We see the same desolation, pain, and suffering that Habakkuk saw. But we know what he could only envision; we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to make a change in this world. Evil can only exist if we allow it to exist. Through the gifts we have been given, we have the resources to make the changes.
Stewardship is about using the gifts that you have been given so that the Word of God can be expressed, so that the homeless find shelter, the hungry get fed, the sick are healed, and the oppressed find justice. Over the course of the next 30 days, take the time to think about how your future will look and what you can do to make it the better for the Kingdom of God.
~~ Tony Mitchell