FAITH MATTERS— on matters of faith as everyone believes in something!
By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“Ovation for Oblations!”
“Those who give to poor people will have all they need. But those who close their eyes to the poor will receive many curses.” – Proverbs 28:27
Rich countries are generous. Poor countries are generous. That goes for rich and poor people, too. The US of A is the most generous country on the planet. Yet, we come in at number 8 per capita. Myanmar and New Zealand are 2nd and 3rd. Myanmar has about 50 million people. New Zealand has just under five million. Does anyone even know where Myanmar is? The least generous nations are Yemen, Greece, and China. I don’t know how that rolls out for Bill Gates or the guy living under the bridge, but I heard the guy under the bridge had $2.00 and gave $1.00 to a friend. I’ve not read where the Gates’ have given away half of their net worth. The figuring out of wealth, economics, generosity, love and compassion can be messy. Jesus did say once… “the poor will be with us always.” And he was right. They still are. And over the years I have learned and experienced that generosity is a good thing for both the giver and the one who gets. So… applause for those who care about others by sharing their own wealth. That’s an ovation for oblations!
And yeah… I figured you were wondering about the term… ‘oblation.’ It’s a word we rarely see or use. The modern American understands these laryngeal sounds as much as they understand the Beatles’ words, “O-bla-di – O-bla-da” … and still life goes on with our oblations as a gift to God and others…rich or poor… near or far. In fact, the word doesn’t even show up in some Bible translations like the RSV, the NIV or The Message and when it does in the KJV, “oblation” is found only in the Old Testament… simply an old word for offerings… as oblation is about giving—-not getting. Martin Luther put it this way… “What I place in my own hand I will lose, but what I place in God’s hand is mine forever.” It was his way of saying… Do you love God? Good. Then love your neighbor. God doesn’t need your good works… your neighbor does. And in this world of ours, most realize our neighbors live both next door and across the ocean. I had a chance to love my neighbor on Sunday… they live in a village in East Africa… and I didn’t do it alone!
It’s a simple thing for me, really. My parents both grew up poor. The details here are not needed. They both experienced the generosity of others and as adults spent their lives giving back in return. So, I actually know no other way.
In 2009, I met Dick Moeller from Austin. He created a non-profit company to build water wells in Africa. Having a well in the center of a village keeps women and children safe as they are no longer walking multiple two-to-three mile trips to lug dirty water back home. Women are empowered and children get to go to school ramping up the quality of life for every village with a new well. So… I’m a huge fan and supporter of the work of Water to Thrive. I can help change lives and I’ll probably never know their names. This can bring joy to any heart!
This past Sunday I live-streamed a three-hour event on Facebook singing songs about Texas, songs about sinners and saints and just plain old songs I like to sing and while doing so, the folks at Water to Thrive were able to post a link so others could contribute to the building of another well. It’s still available online here:
https://www.facebook.com/WaterToThrive. You may be curious now to join the others who will continue to watch. I’ll be honored and humbled if you do and will be overjoyed if you can share a gift to help. You won’t be alone! Then… yes… more ovations for more oblations!
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Please send your comments and / or questions to [email protected].