God's Kingdom without Borders

The Vine Institute

God's Kingdom without Borders

God’s “Share the Wealth” Plan in Action

Tipiloma (“Tip”), one of our Tongan students, told us a story last week about how God’s generous heart moves our hearts to generously spill over onto others. He might not phrase it that way because he’s a truly humble man, but I certainly think that description is appropriate. Here’s the story:

Tip’s congregation, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, held a celebration and feast in June for their former pastor, Viliami, who just finished his doctorate. Other Tongan Christians from the area attended–Tongans have a very robust practice of community–and many came from a smaller Salt Lake City congregation, the Church of Tonga. As they feasted together they talked, and the leaders from the Church of Tonga told the folks at Tip’s church about a very urgent need to pay off in the next several months a large part of the mortgage on building they use. Despite the fact that Tip’s own church is doing aggressive fundraising every month to renovate their own property, they invited the Church of Tonga to come for their monthly fundraising event in August, and they committed all the proceeds to the Church of Tonga! Tip describes the event as a kind of dance gala in which each family, one at a time, steps up with presentations and contributions, and during the traditional islander dances money is thrown on the dancers or pinned on their clothing. That evening alone they raised over $12,000 for their sister congregation! In addition, Tip helped the youth group of the sister church to get started selling concessions at the Energy Solutions arena, where his own youth group raised well over $15,000 last year. Tip and his friends watched as the pastor changed from a feeling of despair over meeting this debt to a feeling of wonderful hope! Givers and receivers alike find themselves offering great praises to God: first and foremost we all of us have received abundantly from Him! Stewardship in God’s kingdom, of course, includes faithful management of time, of relationships, of talent, of the earth, and much more than just money, but all of it starts with us reflecting God’s generosity through His own “Share the Wealth” plan.

In these days when the threatened state of the economy is the hottest issue of the current presidential campaign, all of us who heard this story learned a lesson or two from Tip. How about you? What’s your experience with God’s economy of abundance?

Dave Rowe

Posted in Multicultural on 10 September 2012

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