We should give what we are able to give

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015

By Michael Brooks
Brooks is a pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church and adjunct instructor at Jefferson State Community College.

A good story has conflict, and conflict has a villain. Literature is replete with villains such as Simon Legree, Iago and Nurse Ratched. Cinema has villains such as the Terminator, Norman Bates, Michael Myers and Darth Vader. The Christmas story has villains, too. The innkeeper is generally seen as a villain since he let the baby Jesus be born in the stable instead of inside his hotel.

A child was given the part of the innkeeper in his church’s Christmas play, and was reluctant to portray the villain.

Email newsletter signup

On the night of his performance, he added a few words to his only line: “There is no room in the inn,” he said, “but please come in for a cup of coffee.”

Actually the innkeeper isn’t a villain.

If there’s no room, there’s no room. Joseph should’ve made a reservation ahead of time!

The innkeeper wasn’t a villain because he actually gave Jesus what he had.

Therein is his example for us. We often feel we don’t have much to offer, but all of us can give to Jesus what we have.

We can give Jesus our money. The Lord doesn’t need our money since he “owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” but we need to give because our attitude toward money determines the kind of people we are. Many Christians have found the Old Testament principle of the tithe the best way to regularly support God’s work. The tithe is fair for all, from the smallest child with an allowance to the wealthiest entrepreneur.

We can give Jesus our words. Speech is a wonderful gift, and it can be used for good or ill. Dr. John Howell told of a counselee who grew up feeling worthless because her father’s most oft-spoken words to her were, “you’re stupid.” Contrast this with the biblical admonition to speak words of exhortation.

This means to build up, encourage, or give people a higher model to strive for.

We can give Jesus our service. We may protest: “I can’t pray like Peter or preach like Paul,” but that’s not the point.

The Methodist evangelist Sam Jones used to pray for religion in his right arm so that he could do something for God.

I knew a man who couldn’t speak or sing, but he was at his church most weeks doing maintenance and repairs. He had religion in his right arm.

I met a woman who travels to area nursing homes and plays the piano.

Residents respond with joy, singing and clapping to the old tunes. This woman has religion in her right arm.

All of us should echo the prayer of Sam Jones and ask for religion in our right arm.