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generosity and mission: 1 Kings 17:8-16

October 27th, 2009 by isaac · No Comments

I wrote a short meditation on I Kings 17:8-16 for Mission Sunday in the Mennonite Church USA, which is Nov. 8th, 2009. Below is an excerpt. If you want the whole thing, as well as some other sermon starters by Mennonite pastors, check out the Mennonite Mission Network’s Mission Sunday webpage.

Elijah becomes a beggar, sent on a mission of asking the poorest of the poor for food. Elijah’s mission involves the imposition of receptivity—offering his open hands to a needy widow. He comes in weakness; Elijah presents his need to the widow.
Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is to let someone know that they are needed. In his book Rethinking Generosity, Romand Coles links together how we give and how we receive. “When generosity becomes separated from receptivity,” he writes, “it tends toward imperialism.” We can use our generosity as a way to reassert our position of power. Benevolence becomes a form of security: we have nothing to learn and nothing to receive because it’s our job to give… That’s why Romand Coles points toward relationships of giving and receiving that seek “mutual transfigurations.” When we, like Elijah, give the gift of our need, we change a life and let ourselves be changed in the process. We need to learn how to receive when we give. There is no better feeling, no better ministry, no more important mission, than to show someone that they are needed.

Tags: sermons