Thursday, December 17, 2009

Schindler's Struggle

In preparing for this weekend’s Advent Conspiracy message on Giving More I was reminded of the closing scene in the movie Schindler’s List. If you know the movie the basic storyline has Oskar Shindler rescuing Polish Jews from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. In the closing scene Schindler despairs that he could have done more. He laments:

I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don't know. If I'd just... I could have got more… If I'd made more money... I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I'd just... I didn't do enough! This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person. For this I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't! And I... I didn't!

In a sense Schindler’s struggle is one we face in ministry.

The cost of an orchestra for Christmas Eve could dig four wells in villages where people are dying from a lack of clean drinking water. The price of a drum riser would sponsor a Compassion Child for a year. The resources required to produce a Christmas CD could purchase 30 cows through Heifer International.

And yet orchestras and drum risers and Christmas CDs are good things – actually very good things.

The daily challenge is to live with a bit of tension as we steward God’s resources.

It’s an old tension.

When Mary poured out expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet Judas (admittedly with impure motives) criticized her:

Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?

Yet Jesus’ praised her extravagance toward Him and we are told that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Perhaps that’s the key to resolving the tension. Orchestras and drum risers and Christmas CD’s can fill the world with the fragrance of love for Jesus. So can digging wells and sponsoring children and giving cattle (which I believe to be a very Texan sort of way to give).

Perhaps this Christmas we can be bold enough to be generous toward one another and toward God.

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