Thursday, September 18, 2008

Open Another Bag and Pass the Dip
Thoughts on Giving

by John C. N. Hall

A writer recently reminded me of two television commercials for snack chips that aired about a decade ago. These two ads clarify my approach to “giving,” a widely understood concept, and a word I prefer to use in place of the churchy code word, “stewardship.”

The first ad opened with a scene in which two solitary Eskimos were sitting outside a lone igloo in the middle of a vast field of ice. One Eskimo was slowly eating from a bag of Ruffles potato chips while his friend looked on longingly. Eventually, the friend asked for a chip. The Eskimo with the Ruffles looked around and replied, “If I give one to you, I’ll have to give one to everybody.” This advertisement clearly portrays the idea of limited resources. There will not be enough to go around. Scarcity is the driving force, and all must be done to fend it off.

The other commercial showed comedian Jay Leno with a bag of Doritos. He crunched away and simply said, “Doritos. Eat all you want. We’ll make more.” Here is the notion of abundance rather than dearth. The Doritos customer lacks nothing. The supply is endless.

In the Reign of God, the Creator of all wants for nothing and has supplied a fullness of spirit that overflows. Giving, in God’s plan, springs from the endless gifts God first showers on God’s people. Christians give from their abundance because, ultimately, all is a gift from God. God is a Doritos giver, and Christians are to follow God’s lead.

You might say my approach to giving is one in which I trust God to be a God of abundance. God has already given all the money, people, and talent needed to do God’s will. I believe God can change people’s hearts and open their purse strings. God is not to be tipped, but rather worshipped with all that we have, all that we are, and all we ever will become. I know God, like the maker of Doritos in the commercial, is ready to equip and supply the church to do whatever God calls it to do.

So I say, “Please open another bag, and pass the dip.”

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