Do you open your church board meetings with devotions? We especially like this one, titled Seeing Abundance, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's 2004 Devotional Guide for Congregation Councils and Committees by Stanley J. Meyer.
"The Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him." Exodus 16:8
The desert was a frightening place. Even as slaves in Egypt, the Jews had become accustomed to a city life of relative luxury. The desert, however, was dry and hostile. Scared by scarcity, the people could only see how little water, how little food, how little security they had. But Moses spoke a word of divine abundance- of quail in the evening and manna in the morning- that silenced their muttering and revealed a God of bounty and faithfulness.
Seeing abundance when others see only scarcity is an act of faithfulness. It is to fly in the face of what others consider self-evident, limiting, and problematic. Those who see abundance see possibility and future while others dwell on caution, security, and practicality. Seeing abundance allows one to remain hopeful and gives one the courage to be venturesome and bold.
The opposite of faith is not doubt, as we often suppose, but fear. For the root of "faith" is trust. When we cannot fully trust, we fall into a fearfulness that seeks to preserve, protect, and control the world around us. Drawing in on ourselves, we close ourselves off to the world in which we live. We go into a fortress of self-preservation. Leadership requires that we resist the urge to preserve and open ourselves instead to the abundance of God.
Leaders see talents, possibility, and potential all around them as gifts of God. They help others hear God's call that we trust in the fullness of God's bounty- that there will always be enough, and more than enough, and that what we have is not to be conserved but given away. Leaders dare to be venturesome and courageous even in the dryness of the desert, for they know we are being well fed on our journey to the promised land.
In what way is your congregation rich and how are you spending those riches?
Prayer: Open our hearts, O God, to see your bounty, to trust your promises, and to venture forward in faith. May we lead with boldness, confident that your goodness and gifts will ever sustain us. Amen.