This morning, I wanted to talk a little about Crumbs and leftovers. The Gospel reading speaks about “crumbs falling from the table” and I wanted to share a few of my crumby experiences with you. (Luke 16:21) Now, back in the day, the mice rarely found a crumb in our home! Growing up poor, I can assure you that I also never let leftovers go to waste, with the exception of Brussels sprouts and liver with onions! But that is not the type of leftovers I wanted to focus on this morning.
Back in the early 90’s I started my own business. This was before Orthodoxy got a hold of me, but I was at that time a faithful church going father. I was always putting a twenty in the collection plate when it came by, helping to keep the lights on and the such. Now there were a couple weeks when I didn’t get paid but the business eventually slowly began to increase and start paying down its debts. After about two years, I hired a helper who had just graduated from the community college with the same focus that I had in electronic servicing. In my business, we install and service electronic burglar alarms, fire alarms, camera surveillance systems, electronic locking access control systems and poultry environmental monitoring systems.
Well one day I sent my helper down to Page County to install a system at a chicken farm. As he was driving there, a nice looking Ford pickup truck passed him with a for sale sign on it. The truck slowed down and pulled into the turning lane and this young technician tried to get the phone number from the for sale sign hanging in the back window. While jotting down the phone number, he failed to see that the stoplight had turned red and he plowed through the intersection t-boning a Chevy conversion van and then running off the road. The conversion van was occupied with a mother and her two young children. Thanks be to God that everyone walked away from this crash but the two vans were totaled. The mother had sprained her ankle as she jammed the brake pedal to the floor and the son sitting in the front seat was hurled into the windshield bruising his head, and my helper was shaken but not scratched.
My vehicle insurance took care of the vehicle losses. But a couple of months later I was notified that I was being sued for 3 million dollars! By the way, that is a three with six zero’s behind it! Well at that time, a half million was the normal amount of insurance a business carried so where was the rest of the money going to come from. The business was already in the hole forty thousand the first two years from start up costs and I couldn’t even cover that! My bank then informed me they no longer wanted to honor my business loan and I needed to find a new bank. We had been unprofitable!
Six months went by and the stress level I was under was enormous! I was able to find a new bank but I didn’t know if I was going to continue to be in business or if my family was going to lose their home and the shirts off our back! It was then that I finally surrendered and prayed that God’s will be done. I’ll serve YOU first from now on!! Everything that is, is His! I had been putting other things ahead of Him, like family, work and everything else.
You see, I had been in charge and only been giving God what was leftover or barely the crumbs falling from my table of gluttony! I started to set a budget for my family’s income which had my tithe offering as the number one priority. The truck payment, house payment, utilities and everything else was less important than church! At that time we were barely tithing at 2% and I was determined to somehow make it 10% as God commands. So each year I increased the percentage and each year our needs were mystically met! The Apostle Luke records: “And ye, cease seeking what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, and cease being anxious. For all these things the nations of the world seek after; and your Father knoweth that ye need these things. But be seeking the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” [Lk. 12:29-31]
I am reminded of this story this morning as the Gospel writer describes just how rich the beggar really is. (Luke 16:11-19) However, the guy wearing his wealth who was used to the finer things in life was spiritually broke. Saint Kyril writes: “The poor man, He says, was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom, but of the rich man there is nothing of the sort, but only that he died and was buried. For those who have hope towards God find in their departure from the world a deliverance from anguish and pain....The rich man was going from pleasure to torment, from glory to shame, from light to darkness.” [Hom. 112, Commentary, Ch. 16, 455, 456.]
Life is simply about priorities. There can only be one number One! Set a budget and make sure that you tithe; it will help free you from this world. Your tithe needs to be your first and best fruit. (Ezekiel 44:30, Prov 3:9, Exodus 34:26) If you don’t, you will basically never ever have enough! In conclusion I want to leave you with this wholesome truth taken from the Holy Profit Malachi that will save your very life: You simply cannot out give God! (Malachi 3:10)