It's A New Day
By Lynne Yohnk
I think those of us who have left legalistic churches have a problem with giving. Once upon a time, we gave and gave and gave. We gave of our finances, our time, our emotions and our lives. We gave until we were exhausted and spent. We gave until the well ran so dry, there wasn't one drop left.
And, for some of us, about the time we were exhausted and spent, the taskmaster's whip came out and, like Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt, we were whipped to give more while dehydrated in the blistering sun. Even when we fell and begged for mercy, there was none. There were just more beatings.
We left Egypt, finally, and, even though we were already completely spent and almost ready to die, we knew the only way to truly survive was to hike in the blistering sun for many more miles, far, far away from Egypt and the taskmasters. At first, we were chased and had to run hard. Then, we wandered through the wilderness not knowing whether to turn right or left. We didn't know what lie for us on the other side for we had never been there. We lived on promises and dreams and hope. A hope that was still there in spite of everything. We found manna here and there and were sustained on it.
Finally, we arrived in the promised land. Once there, we wrestled with the inhabitants of the land, not understanding their cultures and they not understanding us. We learned new customs, bumbled around with embarrassment feeling like fools and learned what the inhabitants were like. Some were fools, some were mean but many were good, kind-hearted folks and we never really expected that.
In the promised land, we faced many battles. Sometimes the battles were so hard that we looked back yearning for the garlic and onions of yesteryear. But one thing we learned.....and that was not to give so much and hold back some things for ourselves.
However, we didn't quite know the right balance to this. Perhaps we even became quite stingy, not because we were mean and cruel but because we knew we couldn't go back to Egypt. We kept to ourselves and we kept our gifts to ourselves.
At some point, we realized that something was missing. Giving was not just about doing what the taskmasters wanted but in the beginning we remembered we gave because we wanted to and because we wanted to share the gifts we had with the world.
Eventually, we dusted off the gifts and awkwardly attempted to use them once again. It felt strange and scary. Giving and sharing our talents felt like asking for a beating. It felt like maybe we were complicit in Egypt. That maybe if we give and use our talents, maybe we are somehow asking for everything bad we left.
So, we try. Giving for us may be different than giving for other people. Maybe when we give, it has a lot of baggage that it doesn't have for other people. And yet, if we don't ever give, and we don't ever share, we hold back the beautiful things that God meant for us to share. So for us, recovering legalists, stepping out and giving can be a real exercise. So we need to go back and remember what was the meat and what was the bones.
Remember the beautiful pyramids that were built? We did that. We built those. Remember the festivals we had behind the backs of the taskmasters? Festivals of celebration that we earned because we worked so hard and accomplished what they never could have on their own. We need to remember that building a pyramid or having a festival is not the same things as being beaten and being oppressed.
No one who eats a chicken leg eats it whole. They take the chicken off the leg and throw out the bones. We were forced to eat it whole because we were starving. We didn't know if we would eat again. The leg bone tore our throats and ripped up our insides. Now, we can eat the chicken and not the bone. We can be loved. We can be appreciated. We can be cared for.
We are not in Egypt any longer. We are not whipped. We are not made to work in the hot sun. We are not forced to eat things that are bad for us wondering if there will be enough.
So, it's a new day. Sit in the sun without worrying about the whip. Eat good food. Remember your beautiful pyramid. Remember your friends. And give without fear. It's a new day.
This writing is the copyright of Lynne Yohnk and was posted with her permission. Additional articles may be viewed here. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to write. Please let her know if you appreciate her writings!
Page added December 15, 2015
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