Sunday, August 03, 2014

"Don't weigh my chicken"

“Don’t weigh my chicken”

Last week I was at the national conference of US Mennonite Brethren, my denomination and the founding faith community of Tabor College. While at the Conference, I attended a seminar led by the Executive Director of the Mennonite World Conference- Cesar Garcia. The session shared about the interconnectedness of Mennonites around the world.

As he spoke about the global contribution of each country, one of my fellow session participants told a story from his experience. While in Africa, one of his hosts used the phrase, “Don’t weigh my chicken” implying that a gift, no matter how small should be received with gratefulness and thanksgiving.

I’m currently reading through the Bible in a year using one of the many pre-set guides, and my reading this week was about Hezekiah’s restoration of the Temple. 2 Chronicles 31 tells the story of the people of Judah bringing their gifts to the newly restored temple.

In verse 3 Hezekiah, the king, brings contributions which are listed and are what one would expect from a king: varied and numerous (see also 30:24). Verse 5 continues the story with the “regular people” 5 When the people of Israel heard these requirements, they responded generously by bringing the first share of their grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced.  

It seems that people brought what they could, and it added up fast! The story goes on to state: ...and they piled them up in great heaps. 7 They began piling them up in late spring, and the heaps continued to grow until early autumn. 8 When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw these huge piles, they thanked the Lord and his people Israel!

I thought about this story and the story of the chicken and was reminded of a meal I shared with a community of Mennonite Brethren in the mountains of Colombia, miles from any city. I was with a group of North American’s who were hosted for lunch by a small village. As the plates of food were brought out we asked, “Where did all this food come from?” and were told, “We each brought something and put it all together.” And what they put together was an amazing feast.

“Don’t weigh my chicken.” What gift do you and I have that could be used to contribute to God’s Kingdom? May we be people who don’t worry about the size, rather we rejoice that when our gifts are combined with others, just like Hezekiah’s people, it creates a huge pile.