More than enough
In the midst of drought, the Lord directs Elijah to Zarephath saying “I have commanded a widow to feed you” (1 Kings 17:7-16). But when Elijah arrives and asks her for food and water, she explains she is preparing the last meal she expects to eat before she and her son die of starvation. Elijah is undeterred in his request, declaring, “Do not be afraid…the jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” The widow offers him food and drink.
The first miracle of the story is that she shares the very last that she has with unknown man asking for food and drink — a most daring risk.
I have seen this miracle myself here in this church. Faced with a huge debt, the Vestry of All Saints’ committed its full reserves to fund the necessary work to open the Lockhart Center to serve three-year-olds in 2013. Incredibly, this is just one example of how this congregation got creative, rolled up its sleeves, and found ways to be a church that loves like God loves.
Again and again, our vestry has been willing to take risks in order to extend more ministry in our communities, even if the path to staffing or funding it wasn’t immediately clear. And, again and again, people have volunteered their ideas, their wisdom, and their time to help this congregation move beyond its perceived capacity, whether that was providing shelter in the 1980’s (now the Night Shelter), or housing for the low-income elderly in the 1990’s (now Wesbury), and to opening a child development center during a pandemic.
Each time, miracles were present. Each time there was more than enough. More than enough people to do the work, more than enough money to cover the costs, more than enough creativity to carry the project forward. God promises even when we feel depleted, there is more than enough.
Many of the questions I received for the Rector’s Forum focused on the lower Sunday worship in-person worship attendance versus pre-pandemic numbers. Some wondered about the financial impact of the pandemic, asking how will All Saints’ be able to continue to provide ministry and pay our bills in the face of these challenges?
We have a history of meeting challenges through the faithful stewardship of our personal and collective resources. Again and again, God reminds us of the abundance around us. I have confidence that, once again, there will be more than enough people to do the work as we step forward with our skills, more than enough money to cover the costs as we dig deep in recognition of the importance of the good news, and more than enough creativity to carry the ministry forward in new and exciting ways. There will be more than enough because our faith will continue to unlock generosity as we rebuild community after two and a half years of intense isolation.
Do not be afraid. Always be ready to give an account of the hope within you. Expect miracles.