When I moved in with my grandmother while attending graduate school at the University of Connecticut, one of the things that frustrated me, exasperated me, that I can now look back at and chuckle and appreciate is the thriftiness of my grandmother. She knew that there was a second use for many items from bread loaf bags to cottage cheese containers. One of my fondest memories of her is of this little, and I mean tiny, pink suitcase she would pack to set off on her trip to visit family. She knew that all you really needed was a day dress, a Sunday morning dress, underwear, stockings, and a nightgown. Everything she needed fit in this little case. She would then set out to visit my parents in Illinois or my aunt’s family in California. On the way, she would stop and stay at every relative that had settled from shore to shore. She knew there was someone who would put her and my great aunt or grandpa up for the night. She expected to receive generosity, but it also helped her to be a generous person. She gave of herself and her wealth. What she had was never much, but there was always enough to feed my 26 cousins and 14 aunts and uncles when they dropped by. There was always enough to help the nursing students she adopted knowing how tough it was to get through school with a family. Generosity was a way of life, a part of who she was and what she expected of us, her family. Grandma never had material wealth but she was blessed with the gift of generosity. As Jesus says, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap, for the measure you give will be the measure you get back (Luke 6:38).” Jesus is telling us to live lives of blessing. The more generous we are the more blessed the world will appear to be. Our life will be full of giving and receiving.
When we give to our faith communities, we are experiencing part of what it means to live a blessed life. When we give, we provide food for those who hunger spiritually, emotionally and physically. We give so that as we celebrate the Lord's Supper and share coffee after worship so as we eat together we become the body of Christ. We give so that our building is ready to host the Lake Geneva Food Pantry which serves over 500 adults and children a month; Side by Side which provides assistance (rent, utilities, medical) to over 200 families a year. We give so that our children may be fed the stories of our faith. We give so that our spirits may be fed by music that moves our souls. We give so that 75 young children can come to our building to grow and learn in United Child Care Center. We give to OCWM (Our Church’s Wider Mission) to assist our church in the work of Jesus Christ throughout the world. We give so that when a hurting neighbor calls, we are able to listen to what is happening in their lives, pray for them, and offer our support.
"Give and it will be Given to You."